Sex differences in the utilization of essential & non-essential amino acids in Lepidoptera

Eran Levin, Marshall D. McCue, Goggy Davidowitz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The different reproductive strategies of males and females underlie differences in behavior that may also lead to differences in nutrient use between the two sexes. We studied sex differences in the utilization of two essential amino acids (EAAs) and one non-essential amino acid (NEAA) by the Carolina sphinx moth (Manduca sexta). On day one post-eclosion from the pupae, adult male moths oxidized greater amounts of larva-derived AAs than females, and more nectarderived AAs after feeding. After 4 days of starvation, the opposite pattern was observed: Adult females oxidized more larva-derived AAs than males. Adult males allocated comparatively small amounts of nectar-derived AAs to their first spermatophore, but this allocation increased substantially in the second and third spermatophores. Males allocated significantly more adult-derived AAs to their flight muscle than females. These outcomes indicate that adult male and female moths employ different strategies for allocation and oxidation of dietary AAs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2743-2747
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Experimental Biology
Issue number15
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Manduca sexta
  • Metabolism
  • Nutrient use
  • Stable isotopes
  • δc

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Physiology
  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Insect Science


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