Learning of herbivore-induced and nonspecific plant volatiles by a parasitoid, Cotesia kariyai

Junji Fukushima, Yooichi Kainoh, Hiroshi Honda, Junji Takabayashi
Journal of Chemical Ecology 2002, 28 (3): 579-86
Learning of host-induced plant volatiles by Cotesia kariyai females was examined with synthetic chemicals in a wind tunnel. Wasps were preconditioned by exposure to volatiles and feces simultaneously. A blend of four chemicals, geranyl acetate, beta-caryophyllene, (E)-beta-farnesene, and indole, which are known to be specifically released from plants infested by host larvae Mythimna separata (host-induced blend), elicited a response in naive C. kariyai, but did not enhance the response after conditioning. A blend of five chemicals, (E)-2-hexenal, (Z)-3-hexen-1-ol, (Z)-3-hexen-1-yl acetate, beta-myrcene, and linalool, which are known to be released not only from plants infested by the host larvae, but also from artificially damaged plants or undamaged ones (unspecific blend), elicited little response in naive wasps, but significantly enhanced the wasps' response after conditioning. With a blend of the above nine chemicals, wasps could learn the blend at lower concentrations than they did in the nonspecific blend. Hence, both the host-induced and nonspecific volatile compounds appear to be important for C. kariyai females to learn the chemical cues in host location.


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