Host recognition by Pimpla instigator F. (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae): preferences and learned responses

J. Schmidt, R.T. Cardé, L.E.M. Vet

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This study identifies some previously unreported tactile and visual cues used by the pupal parasitoid Pimpla instigatorF. (Ichneumonidae) to recognize potential hosts. Paper cylinders were presented to the wasps as simple models of lepidopteran pupae. Acceptance of these models was evaluated by determining the frequency with which the wasps punctured the cylinders with their ovipositors. The length of the cylinders did not influence acceptance of the models; however, both surface texture and structural modifications to the ends of the cylinder did affect the frequency of punctures. Smooth cylinders were punctured more often than roughened cylinders, and cylinders with closed ends were frequently punctured, whereas open-ended cylinders were consistently rejected. The wasps also discriminated between blue and yellow cylinders and could be trained to associate blue or yellow with the presence of hosts. Preferences were established during a single 90- min training period and persisted for at least 4 days following training.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-11
JournalJournal of Insect Behavior
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1993
Externally publishedYes


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