Effects of rearing density on larval growth and activity of digestive enzymes in Lymantria dispar L. (Lepidoptera : Lymantriidae)
Perić Mataruga, Vesna
Article (Published version)
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Density dependent responses of 4(th), 5(th) and 6(th) instar gypsy moth larvae were studied at the level of larval mass, midgut loading and activities of three digestive enzymes (alpha-amylase, trypsin and leucine aminopeptidase). High density significantly reduced larval mass while midgut loading (expressed as relative midgut mass) did not change except in the 5(th) instar where it was increased at high density. Specific amylase and leucine aminopeptidase activities were not affected by crowding. Specific trypsin activity was on average higher in crowded than in isolated larvae. High density also affected the correlations between midgut protein content and activities of two proteolytic enzymes suggesting differences in regulatory mechanisms of insect digestion. The importance of these changes for survival under stressful conditions is discussed.