Parasitoid associative learning and its use in monitoring and identification of chemicals
Felix L. Wackers, email@example.com, Lancaster University, Lancaster Environment Centre, Centre for Sustainable Agriculture, Lancaster, United Kingdom, Glen Rains, University of Georgia, Tifton Campus, Tifton, GA, Wallace J. Lewis, USDA-ARS, IBPMRL, PO Box 748, Tifton, GA, and Torsten Meiners, USDA ARS, IBPMRL, PO Box 748, Tifton, GA.
Parasitoids combine a high olfactory sensitivity with the ability to learn to respond to specific novel odors when associated with either food or oviposition rewards. This makes them particularly suited for detection and identification of (volatile) chemical compounds. Using the larval parasitoid Microplitis croceipes as a model, we were able to show that food and oviposition associated learning are separate processes linked to the individual’s physiological state. Moreover we were able to describe distinct sets of conditioned behaviors in association with feeding and reproduction. Subsequently we developed a method to electronically detect these behaviors .
To address the issue of ‘false positives’ and ‘false negatives’, we investigated the specificity of the learned response. Here I will present data on the capacity of the parasitoid to distinguish between structurally related compounds and its ability to deal with complex odour mixtures.
Species 1: Hymenoptera Braconidae Microplitiscroceipes