, Volume 76, Issue 4, pp 538–543 | Cite as

The effect of prior adult experience on components of habitat preference in the apple maggot fly (Rhagoletis pomonella)

  • Daniel R. Papaj
  • Ronald J. Prokopy
Original Papers


Numerous authors have suggested that genetic subdivision within a population in a heterogeneous environment is more likely if individuals tend, through prior experience, to breed in the same habitat in which they developed. Under semi-field conditions we demonstrate that prior adult experience alters habitat preference in the apple maggot fly, Rhagoletis pomonella (Tephritidae), a frugivorous parasitic insect thought to have undergone sympatric divergence in host use in historical times. Females exposed to a particular host fruit species — apple (Malus pumila) or hawthorn (Crataegus mollis) — in a field cage oviposited at a higher rate in test fruit of that species than did inexperienced females or females exposed to the other species. Females exposed to a particular host fruit species also tended to remain longer in test trees harboring fruit of that species than did inexperienced females or females exposed to the other species. Prior adult experience thus alters two components of habitat preference in the apple maggot fly: oviposition preference and habitat fidelity. We discuss how these effects of experience on habitat preference should increase the likelihood that individuals mate assortatively and may further increase the likelihood that apple maggot populations become genetically subdivided.

Key words

Learning Genetic variation Sympatric speciation Habitat selection Host preference Foraging behavior 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Daniel R. Papaj
    • 1
  • Ronald J. Prokopy
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EntomologyUniversity of MassachusettsAmherstUSA

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