Although female parasitic wasps are known to learn to associate odors with hosts and food, the ability of males to learn and detect odors has been neglected. We conducted laboratory experiments to compare the detection ability of learned odors between males and females in the larval parasitoid Microplitis croceipes (Cresson) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). We first conditioned males and females to associate sucrose water with methyl benzoate, 3-octanone, or cyclohexanone, and then observed their behavior toward various concentrations (40 ng l-1-4 mg l-1) of the trained odors. Conditioned male wasps responded as well as female wasps to various concentrations of the three odors. Response times by wasps to these three odors were not significantly different between sexes. For the three odors, response times of both sexes were longer at the intermediate concentrations (40-400 μg l-1) than the higher or lower concentrations. The present study suggests that M. croceipes males can learn and respond to the three chemicals tested as well as the females, and conditioned males are as sensitive to learned odors as conditioned females. By using their sensitive learning and odor-detection capabilities, M. croceipes males could search for food sources as efficiently as females under natural conditions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Insect Science