Meeting the energetic demands of insect diapause: nutrient storage and utilization

J Insect Physiol. 2007 Aug;53(8):760-73. doi: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2007.03.018. Epub 2007 Apr 19.


Insects in diapause characteristically feed very little or not at all, thus they are largely or totally dependent on energy reserves sequestered prior to the entry into diapause. Fats are the dominant reserve used during this period, but non-fat reserves are also important for some species, especially during certain phases of diapause. Metabolic depression, coupled with the low temperatures of winter, facilitates the economic utilization of reserves during the many months typical of most diapauses. Though many insects store additional lipid prior to the entry into diapause, our review of the literature indicates that this is not always the case. We provide evidence that interactions between nutrient storage and metabolism can influence the decision to enter diapause and determine how long to remain in diapause. In addition, the energy reserves expended during diapause have a profound effect on post-diapause fitness. Though the physiological and biochemical mechanisms that regulate nutrient homeostasis prior to and during diapause remain poorly known, we propose several mechanisms that have the potential to contribute to diapause-associated nutrient homeostasis. Potential players include insulin signaling, neuropeptide F, cGMP-kinase, AMP-activated protein kinase, and adipokinetic hormone.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Body Size / physiology
  • Caenorhabditis elegans / metabolism
  • Drosophila melanogaster / metabolism
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Insecta / metabolism*