Selective Choice of Sucrose Solution Concentration by the Hovering Hawk Moth Macroglossum stellatarum

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To determine the preference of the hovering hawk moth Macroglossum stellatarum for different sugar concentrations, the foraging behavior of adults were analyzed under laboratory conditions. Six sucrose concentrations(range, 10-60%, w/w) were simultaneously offered in six artificial ab libitum feeders. The number of feeding bouts and the duration of each visit were automatically recorded and stored in a computer. Results showed that the frequency of visits to the feeders did not vary among the different solutions offered, but the gathered volume by the group attained a maximum at between 20 and 50% (w/w). Moths invested more time in front of the feeder with the more concentrated sugar solutions. It was assumed that factors different from maximizing energy intake, such as water balance and viscosity of concentrated nectars, have to be considered in order to understand the observed patterns of nectar choice.

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