A brief 2-hr experience with host Drosophila larvae in artificial apple-yeast or mushroom microhabitats had three effects on the foraging behavior of female Leptopilina heterotoma (Hymenoptera: Eucoilidae) parasitoids under field conditions. First, experienced females released at the center of circular arrays of apple-yeast and mushroom baits were more likely to find a microhabitat over the course of a daily census than naive ones. Second, for those females that found a microhabitat, experienced ones found it faster than naive ones (i.e., experience reduced travel times). Third, females experienced with a particular microhabitat were more likely to find that micro-habitat than an alternative one. Learned preferences were retained for at least one day and possibly as many as seven. Results generally did not depend on the host species (D. melanogaster or D. simulans) with which females were given experience. Females tended to arrive at baits upwind of the point of release, suggesting that odor is involved in finding host microhabitats and, in particular, in learning to find them more effectively. The implications of these results for the application of semiochemicals in biological control are discussed briefly.
- Leptopilina heterotoma
- biological control
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics