Reward and non-reward learning of flower colours in the butterfly Byasa alcinous (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae)
- 426 Downloads
Learning plays an important role in food acquisition for a wide range of insects. To increase their foraging efficiency, flower-visiting insects may learn to associate floral cues with the presence (so-called reward learning) or the absence (so-called non-reward learning) of a reward. Reward learning whilst foraging for flowers has been demonstrated in many insect taxa, whilst non-reward learning in flower-visiting insects has been demonstrated only in honeybees, bumblebees and hawkmoths. This study examined both reward and non-reward learning abilities in the butterfly Byasa alcinous whilst foraging among artificial flowers of different colours. This butterfly showed both types of learning, although butterflies of both sexes learned faster via reward learning. In addition, females learned via reward learning faster than males. To the best of our knowledge, these are the first empirical data on the learning speed of both reward and non-reward learning in insects. We discuss the adaptive significance of a lower learning speed for non-reward learning when foraging on flowers.
KeywordsPositive associative learning Appetitive learning Negative associative learning Aversive learning Aversion learning Habituation
We sincerely thank Drs. T. Sugimoto, Y. Sakuratani, E. Yano and D. R. Papaj for their valuable advice. We also thank H. Nakai, H. Narita and Y. Kinoshita for assistance with the preliminary experiments. All experiments complied with the current laws of Japan.
- Costa A, Ricard I, Davison AC, Turlings TCJ (2010) Effects of rewarding and unrewarding experiences on the response to host-induced plant odors of the generalist parasitoid Cotesia marginiventris (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). J Insect Behav 23:303–318. doi: 10.1007/s10905-010-9215-y CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Dicke U, Heidorn A, Roth G (2011) Aversive and non-reward learning in the fire-bellied toad using familiar and unfamiliar prey stimuli. Current Zoology 57:709–716Google Scholar
- IBM SPSS (2011) IBM SPSS statistics 20. IBM Corp., New YorkGoogle Scholar
- Internicola AI, Page PA, Bernasconi G, Gigord LDB (2007) Competition for pollinator visitation between deceptive and rewarding artificial inflorescences: an experimental test of the effects of floral colour similarity and spatial mingling. Funct Ecol 21:864–872. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2435.2007.01303.x CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Menzel R (1985) Learning in honeybees in an ecological and behavioral context. In: Hölldobler B, Lindauer M (eds) Experimental behavioral ecology. Fischer, Stuttgart, pp 55–74Google Scholar