Preprint has been published in a journal as an article
DOI of the published article http://doi.org/10.1007/s10211-021-00361-2
Preprint / Version 1

Orientation of Belminus triatomines to cockroaches and cockroaches’ fecal volatiles: an ethological approach

##article.authors##

  • Fernando Otálora-Luna University of Richmond https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5313-2184
  • Oscar Páez-Rondón Laboratorio de Entomología “Herman Lent”, Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Los Andes, Mérida, República Bolivariana de Venezuela https://orcid.org/0000-0003-1470-3746
  • Elis Aldana Laboratorio de Entomología “Herman Lent”, Departamento de Biología, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de Los Andes, Mérida, República Bolivariana de Venezuela
  • Claudia Magaly Sandoval 4Facultad de Ciencias Exactas, Naturales y Agropecuarias, Grupo de Investigaciones en Ciencias Básicas y Aplicadas para la Sostenibilidad (CIBAS), Universidad de Santander, Bucaramanga, Colombia

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1590/SciELOPreprints.892

Keywords:

Triatomines, excreta, olfaction, sensory ecology, proboscis extension

Abstract

Most triatomine bugs (Hemiptera: Reduviidae: Triatominae) are hematophagous, though Belminus species can live off of cockroach hemolymph to complete their life cycle. In this work we described the fixed action pattern (FAP) employed by B. ferroae to identify, approach and suck on a living cockroach. The FAP described here is composed of the following stereotyped behaviors: 1) visual and/or olfactory detection of the cockroach, 2) reaching, 3) cautious approach, 4) antennal exploration, 5) extension of the proboscis, 3) piercing to sedate, 5) walking  away and waiting (post sedation behavior), 6) second cautious approach, 7) extension of the proboscis, 8) piercing to suck hemolymph. In order to identify chemicals cues that could elicit such FAP, we examined the behavior of B. corredori, B. ferroae and B. herreri in response to the cockroaches’ odor, fresh cockroach feces and fresh rodent wastes. The last two sources were tested based on the assumption that abundant chemicals near host refuges could serve as cues for host orientation. We found the cockroach odor emanating from a box significantly attracted B. herreri in a still air olfactometer. The three Belminus species approached the captive cockroach after one hour, but avoided to climb the box. Odors emanating from the cockroach feces attracted B. corredori and B. ferroae in a Y-olfactometer. The FAP sequence observed suggests Belminus bugs are not predators like the rest of reduviids (assassin bugs) —but are kleptophagous ectoparasites, since they do not attack and kill a prey but rather steal hemolymph from its invertebrate host. Triatomines and their hosts have intimately shared the same refuge for millions of years. Similar odors occur across invertebrate and vertebrate refuges, and are recurrent in human abodes, thus plausibly explaining how these kleptophagous bugs can readily switch to the domestic habitat.

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Posted

2020-07-05

Section

Biological Sciences