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CZAAWE Resource Article
Differences in carotenoid accumulation among three feeder-cricket species: implications for carotenoid delivery to captive insectivores
Year of publication
There are a limited number of feeder-invertebrates available to feed captive insectivores, and many are deficient in certain nutrients. Gut-loading is used to increase the diversity of nutrients present in the captive insectivore diet; however, little is known about delivery of carotenoids via gut-loading. Carotenoids may influence health and reproduction due to their roles in immune and antioxidant systems. We assessed interspecific variation in carotenoid accumulation and retention in three feeder-cricket species (Gryllus bimaculatus, Gryllodes sigillatus and Acheta domesticus) fed one of three diets (wheat-bran, fish-food based formulated diet, and fresh fruit and vegetables). Out of the three species of feeder-cricket in the fish-food-based dietary treatment group, G. bimaculatus had the greatest total carotenoid concentration. All cricket species fed the wheat-bran diet had very low carotenoid concentrations. Species on the fish-food-based diet had intermediate carotenoid concentrations, and those on the fruit and vegetable diet had the highest concentrations. Carotenoid retention was poor across all species. Overall, this study shows that, by providing captive insectivores with G. bimaculatus crickets recently fed a carotenoid-rich diet, the quantity of carotenoids in the diet can be increased. Zoo Biol 31:470–478, 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.