For a long time, haematophagy was considered an obligate condition for triatomines (Hemiptera: Reduviidae) to complete their life cycle. Today, the ability to use haemolymphagy is suggested to represent an important survival strategy for some species, especially those in genus Belminus. As Eratyrus mucronatus and Triatoma boliviana are found with cockroaches in the Blaberinae subfamily in Bolivia, their developmental cycle from egg to adult under a “cockroach diet” was studied. The results suggested that having only cockroach haemolymph as a food source com- promised development cycle completion in both species. Compared to a “mouse diet”, the cockroach diet increased: (i) the mortality at each nymphal instar; (ii) the number of feedings needed to molt; (iii) the volume of the maximum food intake; and (iv) the time needed to molt. In conclusion, haemolymph could effectively support survival in the field in both species. Nevertheless, under laboratory conditions, the use of haemolymphagy as a survival strategy in the first developmental stages of these species was not supported, as their mortality was very high. Finally, when Triatoma infestans, Rhodnius stali and Panstrongylus rufotuberculatus species were reared on a cockroach diet under similar conditions, all died rather than feeding on cockroaches. These results are discussed in the context of the ecology of each species.
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- Life cycle