Learning signals within sensory environments

Does host cue learning in butterflies depend on background?

Emilie C. Snell-Rood, Daniel R Papaj

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Insects must detect and interpret stimuli embedded in a sensory environment of competing stimuli. While sensory environments vary in time and space, individuals may be able to learn local background characteristics, facilitating perceptual learning. This study on host search in butterflies examines the following questions in an ecologically relevant context: i) does cue learning depend on the sensory environment in which learning occurs; and ii) are background characteristics learned, such that performance on novel tasks in the same sensory environment is facilitated? Females of Battus philenor (Papilionidae: Lepidoptera) were trained to different coloured and shaped oviposition targets, against different background colours. Individuals trained to colours on a brown background but tested on a green background performed significantly worse than control individuals which were trained to the same colours but on a green background. Females pre-trained to discriminate green targets from red targets on a green background colour performed significantly better in a novel task (shape learning) involving green shapes on a green background than did individuals trained to discriminate the same colours on a brown background. These two results were unique to particular cue-background combinations, in particular cryptic conditions. Taken together, our results suggest that cue learning depends on an insect's sensory environment, and that learning characteristics of local backgrounds may confer benefits to habitat-faithful individuals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-192
Number of pages20
JournalAnimal Biology
Volume56
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 2006

Fingerprint

butterfly
butterflies
learning
color
Battus philenor
insect
Papilionidae
insects
oviposition
space and time
Lepidoptera
habitat
habitats

Keywords

  • Background
  • Battus philenor
  • Butterflies
  • Context-dependency
  • Crypticity
  • Filters
  • Learning
  • Sensorynoise
  • Signal detection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology

Cite this

Learning signals within sensory environments : Does host cue learning in butterflies depend on background? / Snell-Rood, Emilie C.; Papaj, Daniel R.

In: Animal Biology, Vol. 56, No. 2, 04.2006, p. 173-192.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{e4e70edb15254cfaa0b5b6b1743bc543,
title = "Learning signals within sensory environments: Does host cue learning in butterflies depend on background?",
abstract = "Insects must detect and interpret stimuli embedded in a sensory environment of competing stimuli. While sensory environments vary in time and space, individuals may be able to learn local background characteristics, facilitating perceptual learning. This study on host search in butterflies examines the following questions in an ecologically relevant context: i) does cue learning depend on the sensory environment in which learning occurs; and ii) are background characteristics learned, such that performance on novel tasks in the same sensory environment is facilitated? Females of Battus philenor (Papilionidae: Lepidoptera) were trained to different coloured and shaped oviposition targets, against different background colours. Individuals trained to colours on a brown background but tested on a green background performed significantly worse than control individuals which were trained to the same colours but on a green background. Females pre-trained to discriminate green targets from red targets on a green background colour performed significantly better in a novel task (shape learning) involving green shapes on a green background than did individuals trained to discriminate the same colours on a brown background. These two results were unique to particular cue-background combinations, in particular cryptic conditions. Taken together, our results suggest that cue learning depends on an insect's sensory environment, and that learning characteristics of local backgrounds may confer benefits to habitat-faithful individuals.",
keywords = "Background, Battus philenor, Butterflies, Context-dependency, Crypticity, Filters, Learning, Sensorynoise, Signal detection",
author = "Snell-Rood, {Emilie C.} and Papaj, {Daniel R}",
year = "2006",
month = "4",
doi = "10.1163/157075606777304203",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "56",
pages = "173--192",
journal = "Animal Biology",
issn = "1570-7555",
publisher = "Brill",
number = "2",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Learning signals within sensory environments

T2 - Does host cue learning in butterflies depend on background?

AU - Snell-Rood, Emilie C.

AU - Papaj, Daniel R

PY - 2006/4

Y1 - 2006/4

N2 - Insects must detect and interpret stimuli embedded in a sensory environment of competing stimuli. While sensory environments vary in time and space, individuals may be able to learn local background characteristics, facilitating perceptual learning. This study on host search in butterflies examines the following questions in an ecologically relevant context: i) does cue learning depend on the sensory environment in which learning occurs; and ii) are background characteristics learned, such that performance on novel tasks in the same sensory environment is facilitated? Females of Battus philenor (Papilionidae: Lepidoptera) were trained to different coloured and shaped oviposition targets, against different background colours. Individuals trained to colours on a brown background but tested on a green background performed significantly worse than control individuals which were trained to the same colours but on a green background. Females pre-trained to discriminate green targets from red targets on a green background colour performed significantly better in a novel task (shape learning) involving green shapes on a green background than did individuals trained to discriminate the same colours on a brown background. These two results were unique to particular cue-background combinations, in particular cryptic conditions. Taken together, our results suggest that cue learning depends on an insect's sensory environment, and that learning characteristics of local backgrounds may confer benefits to habitat-faithful individuals.

AB - Insects must detect and interpret stimuli embedded in a sensory environment of competing stimuli. While sensory environments vary in time and space, individuals may be able to learn local background characteristics, facilitating perceptual learning. This study on host search in butterflies examines the following questions in an ecologically relevant context: i) does cue learning depend on the sensory environment in which learning occurs; and ii) are background characteristics learned, such that performance on novel tasks in the same sensory environment is facilitated? Females of Battus philenor (Papilionidae: Lepidoptera) were trained to different coloured and shaped oviposition targets, against different background colours. Individuals trained to colours on a brown background but tested on a green background performed significantly worse than control individuals which were trained to the same colours but on a green background. Females pre-trained to discriminate green targets from red targets on a green background colour performed significantly better in a novel task (shape learning) involving green shapes on a green background than did individuals trained to discriminate the same colours on a brown background. These two results were unique to particular cue-background combinations, in particular cryptic conditions. Taken together, our results suggest that cue learning depends on an insect's sensory environment, and that learning characteristics of local backgrounds may confer benefits to habitat-faithful individuals.

KW - Background

KW - Battus philenor

KW - Butterflies

KW - Context-dependency

KW - Crypticity

KW - Filters

KW - Learning

KW - Sensorynoise

KW - Signal detection

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=33747885702&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=33747885702&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1163/157075606777304203

DO - 10.1163/157075606777304203

M3 - Article

VL - 56

SP - 173

EP - 192

JO - Animal Biology

JF - Animal Biology

SN - 1570-7555

IS - 2

ER -