The metabolism of lipids and carbohydrates related to flight activity in Panstrongylus megistus
was investigated. Insects were subjected to different times of flight under laboratory conditions and changes in total lipids, lipophorin density and carbohydrates were followed in the hemolymph. Lipids and glycogen were also assayed in fat body and flight muscle. In resting insects, hemolymph lipids averaged 3.4 mg/ml and significantly increased after 45 min of flight (8.8 mg/ml, P < 0.001). High-density lipophorin was the sole lipoprotein observed in resting animals. A second fraction with lower density corresponding to low-density lipophorin appeared in insects subjected to flight. Particles from both fractions showed significant differences in diacylglycerol content and size. In resting insects, carbohydrate levels averaged 0.52 mg/ml. They sharply declined more than twofold after 15 min of flight, being undetectable in hemolymph of insects flown for 45 min. Lipid and glycogen from fat body and flight muscle decreased significantly after 45 min of flight. Taken together, the results indicate that P. megistus
uses carbohydrates during the initiation of the flight after which, switching fuel for flight from carbohydrates to lipids.