Effect of host diet and preflight experience on the flight responses of Microplitis croceipes (Cresson)


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Abstract. Female Microplitis croceipes without previous exposure to host diet, feeding damage or faeces, and with no oviposition experience (i.e. inexperienced) exhibited flight tunnel responses towards extracts of faeces from several diet–host species combinations, excluding artificial diet. Inexperienced females exhibited the following preference order towards faeces from Heliothis zea larvae fed selected diets: cotton > wild geranium > cowpea > artificial diet, suggesting and adaptation to ‘preferred’ host plants. Females having a preflight experience with a plant‐host complex (PHC) prior to testing exhibited a higher percentage of oriented flights in the wind tunnel than did inexperienced females. Oviposition Per se had little effect on the flight response of females. The increased flight response after an experience is apparently due to a combination of sensitization and associative learning. In a choice situation, a single experience was insufficient to establish a preference for the PHC experienced; however, repeated experience resulted in preferences, and the degree of preference tended to increase with the number of experiences.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)235-240
Number of pages6
JournalPhysiological Entomology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1992

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Insect Science

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