Flight chamber experiments were conducted to examine the capacity of the larval parasitoid Microplitis croceipes (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) to learn to distinguish between structurally related aliphatic alcohols differing in the carbon chain-length and the position of the functional group, and between an alcohol and the respective aldehyde. The parasitoid's ability to discriminate between the components depended on the chain-length of the alcohol to which they had been conditioned. Discrimination improved with increasing difference in carbon chain-length, e.g. the parasitoids made clear distinction between 1-hexanol and 1-octanol. Microplitis croceipes could also distinguish different isomers of six-carbon alcohols on the basis of the position of the alcoholic group as well as between 1-hexanol and 1-hexanal. The learning abilities of M. croceipes correspond to the specificity of antennal odour receptors towards aliphatic alcohols and aldehydes in previous electrophysiological studies of M. croceipes and other insects. Differences in perception or processing of single compounds might reflect differences of their ecological relevance.
Original languageEnglish
JournalChemical Senses
Journal publication date2002

ID: 201677