Insects, including cockroaches, self-select a balanced diet when faced with different nutrient choices. For self-selection to be carried out effectively, insects possess neuroregulatory systems to control their food intake. In the present study, we examined the role of the neurotransmitter dopamine (DA) in the feeding regulation of the Madeira cockroach (Rhyparobia maderae). When R. maderae nymphs were injected with 20 μl of 100 mmol l–1 DA, they showed an 83.3% reduction in sucrose intake and a 78.9% reduction in total intake compared with saline-injected controls. The DA agonist, 2-amino-6,7-dihydroxy-1,2,3,4-tetrahydronaphthalene (6,7-ADTN) (100 mmol l–1 in 1 μl), caused a significant reduction in sucrose feeding, reducing feeding by 47.3% compared with saline-injected controls. Protein feeding was also significantly reduced by 6,7-ADTN to 62%. Rhyparobia maderae nymphs injected with the DA antagonist chlorpromazine (100 mmol l–1 in 1 μl) did not differ significantly from control nymphs in their feeding behavior. Interestingly, R. maderae nymphs injected with 2 μl or 5 μl chlorpromazine (100 mmol l–1) showed significantly increased mortality rates of 47.5% or 66.7%, respectively. The DA antagonist, spiperone (100 mmol l–1 in 1 μl), caused a significant feeding response, showing an increase in feeding in both sucrose (310.6%) and total intake (236.3%). Casein feeding in R. maderae nymphs was also elevated (70.8%) but this was not statistically significant. The experiments with DA, the DA agonist 6,7-ADTN and the DA antagonist spiperone strongly suggest that the neurotransmitter DA is involved in regulating feeding in the cockroach R. maderae.
These experiments were supported by a Student project grant from The University Corporation at California State University Northridge and a Graduate Studies Research Grant from the Graduate Studies Office at California State University Northridge.
- © 2011.