Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 8, Issue 6, pp 751–762 | Cite as

Influence of two successive learning processes on the response ofEupelmus vuilleti Crw (Hymenoptera: Eupelmidae) to volatile stimuli from hosts and host plants

  • A. M. Cortesero
  • J. P. Monge
  • J. Huignard


Eupelmus vuilleti (Crw) is a solitary ectoparasitoid of several bruchid species which develop inside Leguminosae seeds. In this hymenopteran a preemergence learning process is responsible for a specific response of females toward the host and host-plant volatiles. This learning occurs after the imaginal molt, while the adult remains in the larval chamber of its host. The persistence of the response toward host and host-plant volatiles of females reared onBruchidius atrolineatus (Pic) larvae developing inVigna unguiculata (Walp) seed was investigated in this study. In the absence of any reinforcement, the response towardB. atrolineatus larvae persisted for 6 days after female emergence from the seeds, whereas the response towardV. unguiculata seed volatiles was maintained for 7 days. Our experiments showed that a later learning process also takes place inE. vuilleti. An ovipositional experience on a given plant-host complex enabled females to learn the stimuli from that complex. This learning occurred even if the complex experienced during oviposition differed from the one on which females were reared. After an ovipositional experience on a new plant-host complex, the response acquired through preemergence learning was maintained. These experiments demonstrate that theE. vuilleti females can memorize cues from several species during successive learning processes. The adaptive significance of these learning capacities, which confer an important behavioral plasticity to this generalist parasitoid, is discussed.

Key words

Eupelmidae Bruchidae Leguminosae ectoparasitoid host-searching preemergence learning ovipositional experience 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • A. M. Cortesero
    • 1
  • J. P. Monge
    • 1
  • J. Huignard
    • 1
  1. 1.Institut de Biocénotique Expérimentale des Agrosystèmes, URA CNRS 1298ToursFrance

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