Feeding patterns of the aquatic grasshopper Cornops aquaticum (Bruner) (Orthoptera: Acrididae) in the middle Paraná river, Argentina


Neotropical Entomology




The aquatic grasshopper Cornops aquaticum (Bruner) is native to South America and inhabits lowlands from southern Mexico to Central Argentina and Uruguay. This grasshopper is host-specific to aquatic plants of the genera Eichhornia and Pontederia. The objectives of this study were to analyze the feeding patterns of the aquatic grasshopper C. aquaticum in relationship to development stages and sex and to determine the food consumption rate in their host plant, Eichhornia crassipes. Samples were collected from April 2006 to May 2007 in different floodplain lakes of the Middle Parana River. The average consumption was greater in the females (0.127 g food/day ± 0.051) than in the males (0.060 g food/day ± 0.025). The feces of 361 nymphs and adults of this locust were examined and the most common tissue fragments found were of the water hyacinth (E. crassipes). In the initial nymphal stages (I, II and III), an exclusive consumption of E. crassipes was registered, while in the IV and V stages the choice included also other macrophytes. In summary, C. aquaticum presents polyphagy in the field, feeding on six macrophytes of different classes and families.

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