Psyche (2015) 2015 (359765), 1-6

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Terrence D. Fitzgerald (2015)
Temporal and spatial foraging behavior of the larvae of the fall webworm Hyphantria cunea
Psyche 2015 (359765), 1-6
Abstract: During their first three larval stadia, caterpillars of Hyphantria cunea (Lepidoptera: Arctiidae) are patch-restricted foragers, confining their activity to a web-nest they construct in the branches of the host tree. Activity recordings of eight field colonies made over 46 colony-days showed that the later instars become central place foragers, leaving their nests at dusk to feed at distant sites and then returning to their nests in the morning. Colonies maintained in the laboratory showed that same pattern of foraging. In Y-choice laboratory experiments, caterpillars were slow to abandon old, exhausted feeding sites in favor of new food finds. An average of approximately 40% of the caterpillars in five colonies still selected pathways leading to exhausted sites at the onset of foraging bouts over those leading to new sites after feeding exclusively at the new sites on each of the previous four days. On returning to their nests in the morning, approximately 23% of the caterpillars erred by selecting pathways that led them away from the nest rather than toward it and showed no improvement over the course of the study. The results of these Y-choice studies indicate that, compared to other previously studied species of social caterpillars, the webworm employs a relatively simple system of collective foraging.
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Database assignments for author(s): Terrence D. Fitzgerald

Research topic(s) for pests/diseases/weeds:
general biology - morphology - evolution


Pest and/or beneficial records:

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


Hyphantria cunea U.S.A. (NE)