Everybody loves sugar : first report of plant feeding in triatomines

Diaz-Albiter, Hector M. and Dillon, Viv M. and Dillon, Roderick James (2016) Everybody loves sugar : first report of plant feeding in triatomines. Parasites and Vectors, 9: 114. ISSN 1756-3305

[thumbnail of art%3A10.1186%2Fs13071-016-1401-0]
PDF (art%3A10.1186%2Fs13071-016-1401-0)
art_3A10.1186_2Fs13071_016_1401_0.pdf - Published Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution.

Download (1MB)


Background Triatomines, which are the vectors of Trypanosoma cruzi, have been considered to be exclusive blood feeders for more than 100 years, since the discovery of Chagas disease. Methods We offered artificial sugar meals to the laboratory model-insect Rhodnius prolixus, which is considered a strict haematophagous insect. We registered feeding by adding colorant to sugar meals. To assess putative phytophagy, fruits of the tomato Solanum lycopersicum were offered to R. prolixus and the presence of tomato DNA was assessed in the insects using PCR. We also assessed longevity, blood feeding and urine production of fruit-exposed triatomines and control insects. Results All instars of R. prolixus ingested sugar from artificial sugar meals in laboratory conditions. First instar R. prolixus ingested plant tissue from S. lycopersicum fruits, and this increased the amount of blood ingested and urine excreted. Decreased mortality was also observed after blood feeding. Exposure to S. lycopersicum increased longevity and reduced weight loss caused by desiccation. Conclusions We describe here the first report of sugar feeding and phytophagy in a species that was considered to be a strict blood-feeder for over a century. We suggest that local plants might be not merely shelters for insects and vertebrate hosts as previously described, but may have a nutritional role for the maintenance of the triatomine vectors. The description of sugar and plant meals in triatomines opens new perspectives for the study and control of Chagas Disease.

Item Type:
Journal Article
Journal or Publication Title:
Parasites and Vectors
Additional Information:
© 2016 Díaz-Albiter et al. Open Access This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver (http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated
Uncontrolled Keywords:
?? rhodnius prolixuschagas diseasetrypanosoma cruzi triatominephytophagysugar mealinfectious diseasesparasitology ??
ID Code:
Deposited By:
Deposited On:
14 Mar 2016 09:38
Last Modified:
15 Jul 2024 15:52