, Volume 17, Issue 2, pp 201-213

Associative Learning of Color by Males of the Parasitoid Wasp Nasonia vitripennis (Hymenoptera: Pteromalidae)

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Abstract

Males of the parasitoid wasp Nasonia vitripennis showed no innate preference for blue versus yellow or for green versus brown. They learned to associate color with mates, but their ability to do so depended on the color used and the strength of the reward. Specifically, males learned to associate brown or green with a reward of many virgin females. With fewer females, fewer training periods, or mated females as the reward, males still learned a preference for green but not for brown. Males did not learn to associate color with rewards of honey or water. Previous studies of color preference and associative learning in parasitoid wasps have focused almost entirely on females. This is the first demonstration of associative learning in response to visual cues by male parasitoid wasps.