The influence of egg-laying experience on the response of females of the eucoilid parasitoid, Leptopilina heterotoma, to parasitized and unparasitized Drosophila melanogaster host larvae was examined under more controlled conditions than those used in past studies. In laboratory assays, we precisely manipulated both the number of eggs laid by females and the kind of larvae (parasitized versus unparasitized) in which the eggs were laid. We found that the tendency to avoid laying eggs in parasitized hosts depended markedly on whether or not eggs had been laid previously, but depended little on whether those eggs had been laid in parasitized or unparasitized hosts. The observed effect of general egg-laying experience on avoidance of parasitized hosts may reflect responses to either changes in the wasp's internal state (perhaps, changes in egg load) or changes in the wasp's neural representation of the external environment (such as those presumed to occur during learning). In light of these results, we offer a tentative reinterpretation of several earlier studies.
- egg load
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Insect Science