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CHELI, Germán Horacio; CORLEY, Juan Carlos; CASTILLO, Lucía Daniela  e  MARTINEZ, Fernando Joaquín. An experimental approach of feeding preferences of Nyctelia circumundata (Coleoptera: Tenebrionidae) in Northeastern Patagonia . INCI [online]. 2009, vol.34, n.11, pp. 771-776. ISSN 0378-1844.

Coleopteran is the most diverse order of insects, and as such it includes a broad variety of feeding habits. The Tenebrionidae family, typically considered as composed of scavengers, is the most abundant family found in Northeastern Patagonia. In turn, Nyctelia circumundata is one of its most representative Tenebrionidae in the region. In order to know the most important components of its diet, as well as its feeding preferences and the possible consumption of the foreign specie Diplotaxis tenuifolia, two different laboratory assays were carried out: simple preference tests and paired choice tests. Clear preferences were found, being Senecio filaginoides and Lycium chilense the most preferred items, and Sporobolus rigens and Atriplex lampa the less preferred, and Schinus johnstonii and Grindelia chiloensis, intermediate. N. circumundata consumed the exotic species D. tenuifolia, turning out to be the most consumed item. The results modify the classical concept about N. circumundata, showing that it feeds on green plant parts and exhibits a defined feeding preference pattern. This preference could be the consequence of a complex interaction between plant energetic attributes, palatability and metabolic requirements. The fact that D. tenuifolia was the preferred item suggests the development of a new interaction between native insects and an invasive plant, which may bring about ecological and application consequences.

Palavras-chave : Dieta ; Nyctelia circumundata ; Patagonia ; Preferencia Alimentaria ; Tenebrionidae .

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