Journal of Insect Behavior (2010) 23, 303-318

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Arnaud Costa, Ingrid Ricard, Anthony C. Davison and Ted C.J. Turlings (2010)
Effects of rewarding and unrewarding experiences on the response to host-induced plant odors of the generalist parasitoid Cotesia marginiventris (Hymenoptera: Braconidae)
Journal of Insect Behavior 23 (4), 303-318
Abstract: Associative learning is known to modify foraging behavior in numerous parasitic wasps. This is in agreement with optimal foraging theory, which predicts that the wasps will adapt their responses to specific cues in accordance with the rewards they receive while perceiving these cues. Indeed, the generalist parasitoid Cotesia marginiventris shows increased attraction to a specific plant odor after perceiving this odor during contact with hosts. This positive associative learning is common among many parasitoids, but little is known about the effects of unrewarding host searching events on the attractiveness of odors. To study this, preferences of female C. marginiventris for herbivore-induced odors of three plant species were tested in a six-arm olfactometer after the wasps perceived one of these odors either i) without contacting any caterpillars, ii) while contacting the host caterpillar Spodoptera littoralis, or iii) while contacting the non-host caterpillar Pieris rapae. The results confirm the effects of positive associative learning, but showed no changes in innate responses to the host-induced odors after 'negative' experiences. Hence, a positive association is made during an encounter with hosts, but unsuccessful host-foraging experiences do not necessarily lead to avoidance learning in this generalist parasitoid.
(The abstract is excluded from the Creative Commons licence and has been copied with permission by the publisher.)
Link to article at publishers website
Database assignments for author(s): Ted C.J. Turlings

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
biocontrol - natural enemies
Research topic(s) for beneficials or antagonists:
environment/habitat manipulation

Pest and/or beneficial records:

Beneficial Pest/Disease/Weed Crop/Product Country Quarant.

Spodoptera littoralis
Cotesia marginiventris (parasitoid) Spodoptera littoralis