Unrewarding experiences and their effect on foraging in the parasitic wasp Leptopilina heterotoma (Hymenoptera: Eucoilidae)

Daniel R Papaj, Henk Snellen, Kees Swaans, Louise E M Vet

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

57 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The host-foraging behavior of female entomophagous parasitoids is commonly modified by positive associative learning. Typically, a rewarding experience (e.g., successful oviposition in a host) increases a female's foraging effort in a host microhabitat of the type associated with that experience. Less well understood are the effects of unrewarding experiences (i.e., unsuccessful foraging). The influence of unrewarding experience on microhabitat choice and residence time within a microhabitat was examined for the eucoilid parasitoid, Leptopilina heterotoma, in laboratory and greenhouse assays. As determined previously, females which oviposited successfully in either of two microhabitat types (fermenting apple or decaying mushroom) strongly preferred to forage subsequently on that microhabitat type. However, failure to find hosts in the formerly rewarding microhabitat caused females to reverse their preference in favor of a novel microhabitat type. The effect, though striking, was transient: within 1-2 h, the original learned preference was nearly fully restored. Similar effects of unrewarding experiences were observed with respect to the length of time spent foraging in a microhabitat. As determined previously, oviposition experience in a particular microhabitat type increased the time spent foraging in a patch of that microhabitat type. However, failure to find hosts in the patch caused the time a wasp spent in the next unoccupied patch of that type to decrease to almost nothing. In addition, there was a tendency for an unrewarding experience on a formerly rewarding microhabitat type to extend the time spent in a patch of a novel type. The function of the observed effects of unrewarding experiences is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)465-481
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Insect Behavior
Volume7
Issue number4
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 1994

Fingerprint

Eucoilidae
Leptopilina heterotoma
wasp
microhabitat
microhabitats
Hymenoptera
foraging
oviposition
parasitic wasps
effect
mushroom
foraging behavior
parasitoid
mushrooms

Keywords

  • Drosophila
  • Eucoilidae
  • experience
  • extinction
  • host selection
  • Hymenoptera
  • learning
  • Leptopilina heterotoma
  • parasitoids
  • reinforcement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Insect Science
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Unrewarding experiences and their effect on foraging in the parasitic wasp Leptopilina heterotoma (Hymenoptera : Eucoilidae). / Papaj, Daniel R; Snellen, Henk; Swaans, Kees; Vet, Louise E M.

In: Journal of Insect Behavior, Vol. 7, No. 4, 07.1994, p. 465-481.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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