Genomics of Lepidoptera saliva reveals function in herbivory

Loren J. Rivera-Vega, Flor E. Acevedo, Gary W. Felton

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

36 Scopus citations


Lepidoptera herbivores deposit copious amounts of saliva when feeding. Their saliva is produced by the paired mandibular and labial glands and evidence indicates that it may play an important role in allowing an herbivore to establish on its host plant. Genomic studies of Lepidoptera saliva are beginning to reveal the role of saliva in herbivory. Molecules involved in digestion, detoxification, immunity, defense against plant secondary chemicals, chemoreception and so on have been identified using high throughput genomic tools. These genomic tools have also revealed changes that occur in Lepidoptera saliva when caterpillars feed on different host plants. However, there are other factors either biotic or abiotic (e.g., larval stage, larval health, temperature, water stress, etc.) that might also affect its composition. Though further functional and ecological studies are still necessary to fully understand the role of Lepidoptera saliva on herbivory, here we review current trends.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-69
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent Opinion in Insect Science
StatePublished - Feb 1 2017

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science


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