Phospholipid and triacylglycerol fatty acid compositions of whole animals from all life stages of Eurygaster integriceps, including eggs, nymphs, pre-diapausing adults and diapausing adults, were determined. The fatty acid composition of total lipids of their food, wheat, was also determined. The major components of the insects and their food were the expected C16 and C18 saturated and unsaturated fatty acids. Since fatty acid compositions of third-stadium nymphs were not similar to the profiles of their food, most likely, dietary fatty acids are modified by the insect. The fact is that the food does not provide C20 polyunsaturated fatty acids, but the insect tissue lipids include these components. We suggest biosynthesis of the C20 components by elongation/desaturation of C18:2n-6, an abundant component of the diets. We also show differences in fatty acid profiles from each of the life stages. (C) 2002 Elsevier Science Inc. All rights reserved.