Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 2, Issue 6, pp 743–759 | Cite as

The role of experience in plant foraging by the aphid parasitoidDiaeretiella rapae (Hymenoptera: Aphidiidae)

  • William Sheehan
  • A. M. Shelton


Experiments were conducted to test the hypothesis that plant learning by a relative plant-specialist parasitoid wasp should influence the probability of orienting to plant odors (plant finding) and the duration of searching on a plant after landing (plant examining). The insect tested was Diaeretiella rapaeM'Intosh (Hymenoptera: Aphidiidae), a parasitoid wasp that usually attacks aphids on cruciferous plants, but occasionally on other plants. Laboratory experiments using collard as the cruciferous plant and potato as the novel plant demonstrated that postemergence (adult) plant experience affected plant examining only on the less preferred plant, potato, and was reversible and relatively long-term (that is, lasted >2 days). Postemergence experience with potato did not increase orientation to potato odor in a wind tunnel, but postemergence experience with collard resulted in a trend of increased likelihood of flying to collard odor. Preemergence treatments affected plant finding but not plant examining.

Key words

parasitoid plant foraging habitat selection experience learning Diaeretiellarapae Hymenoptera Aphidiidae 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • William Sheehan
    • 1
  • A. M. Shelton
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Entomology, N.Y.S. Agricultural Experiment StationCornell UniversityGeneva

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