Diet of two locusts Oedipoda miniata mauritanica and Oedipoda coerulescens sulfurescens (Orthoptera: Acrididae) in the coast of the Tlemcen region (Algeria)
The Orthoptera represent a crucial link in the food chains as primary consumers. They have long been recognized as crop pests causing extensive damage and thus, arousing scientific interest around their diet. This study aims to know the diet and trophic preferences of two locust species Oedipoda miniata mauritanica (Lucas, 1849) and Oedipoda caerulescens sulfurescens (Saussure, 1884), under natural conditions. The sampling was carried out in 2016 in Ghazaouet, a coastal region of Tlemcen subject to a sub- humid climate. We examined Feces contents by comparing the epidermal fragments of plants ingested by these two locusts with a reference collection prepared from plant species existing in the sampled biotope. This method is practical for field research as it is simple, fast, and objective. The food spectrum of the two Oedipodinae reveals their clear preference for three plant species over all the plants present in the study area, and each species chooses its food according to its availability and nutritional characteristics. Moreover, Oedipoda miniata mauritanica shows a great affinity towards the plant species Lavendula dentata, with a consumption rate > 59%, on the other hand, Oedipoda caerulescens sulfurescens prefers the plant species Lavendula multifida, with a consumption rate >50%. We can, therefore, consider these two locusts as euryphagous species consuming mainly Lamiaceae.