Laboratory experiments were conducted to determine the role of learning in olfactory host searching by the ichneumonid pupal parasitoid, Pimpla luctuosa Smith. Females learned to associate novel odors such as vanilla and strawberry with hosts when they oviposited in at least several hosts with the odors. Repeated experiences of hosts with an odor increased the response of the experienced odor, and females that had experienced host odor seven times responded to the experienced odors 90% of the time. Although the response by females to a learned odor gradually decreased with increasing host-deprivation time, 60% of the females that had experienced host odor 7 days earlier still responded to the experienced odor. Females also learned two separate odors associated with hosts at a time and responded to both odors without a preference for one odor over the other. When trained two separate odors with hosts, females learned the second odor more quickly than the first odor. After females experienced several stings in 'simulated hosts' with the previously learned odor, they ceased to respond to the learned odor, suggesting that repeated unrewarding experiences cause females to cease to respond to the learned odors.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Insect Science