Herbivory in holometabolous and hemimetabolous insects: contrasts between Orthoptera and Lepidoptera

May R Berenbaum, M. B. Isman

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Adaptation to a phytophagous diet involves physiological compromises that may be influenced by developmental constraints. In this review, we compare patterns of hostplant utilization with respect to nutrition and allelochemistry in representative holometabolous (lepidopteran) and hemimetabolous (orthopteran) species in order to identify those potential constraints. Overall in Lepidoptera greater molting efficiency and gut permeability, which enhance nutritional efficiency, result in higher exposure to allelochemicals and are associated with greater activity and inducibility of cytochrome P450 monoxygenase detoxication enzymes. In contrast, in Orthoptera, relative impermeability to allelochemicals due to the peritrophic membrane and cuticular sclerotization is associated with reduced nutritional efficiency and lower detoxication enzyme activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)229-236
Number of pages8
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1989


  • Lepidoptera
  • Orthoptera
  • allelochemistry
  • cytochrome P450
  • digestive efficiency
  • nutrition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology


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