Sexual differences in destructive capability and midgut enzyme activities in adult variegated grasshoppers Zonocerus variegatus (LINNAEUS, 1758) (Orthoptera: Pyrgomorphidae)

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Abstract

The variegated grasshopper Zonocerus variegatus is a polyphagous insect, feeding on numerous food and cash crops. The present study aimed to investigate the sexual variations in the destructive capability of the adult insects and the composition of leaves damaged by them, as well as in the levels of midgut microbial flora and digestive enzymes (cellulase, amylase and α-glucosidase). The results showed that females consumed and caused more damage to cassava leaves than their male congeners. The leaves damaged by males contained more nutrients than those damaged by females. The gut microbial flora and enzyme assay showed that females had significantly larger colony forming units and a non-significant difference in enzyme activities. It can thus be concluded that adult females are more destructive than males.

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