|Title||Getting confused: learning reduces parasitoid foraging efficiency in some environments with non-host-infested plants|
|Author(s)||Vosteen, Ilka; Meiracker, Nika van den; Poelman, Erik H.|
|Source||Oecologia 4 (2019). - ISSN 0029-8549 - p. 919 - 930.|
Laboratory of Entomology
|Publication type||Refereed Article in a scientific journal|
|Keyword(s)||Cotesia glomerata - HIPVs - Non-reward learning - Olfaction - Volatiles|
Foraging animals face the difficult task to find resources in complex environments that contain conflicting information. The presence of a non-suitable resource that provides attractive cues can be expected to confuse foraging animals and to reduce their foraging efficiency. We used the parasitoid Cotesia glomerata to study the effect of non-host-infested plants and associative learning on parasitoid foraging efficiency. Inexperienced C. glomerata did not prefer volatiles emitted from host (Pieris brassicae)-infested plants over volatiles from non-host (Mamestra brassicae)-infested plants and parasitoids that had to pass non-host-infested plants needed eight times longer to reach the host-infested plant compared to parasitoids that had to pass undamaged plants. Contrary to our expectations, oviposition experience on a host-infested leaf decreased foraging efficiency due to more frequent visits of non-host-infested plants. Oviposition experience did not only increase the responsiveness of C. glomerata to the host-infested plants, but also the attraction towards herbivore-induced plant volatiles in general. Experience with non-host-infested leaves on the contrary resulted in a reduced attraction towards non-host-infested plants, but did not increase foraging efficiency. Our study shows that HIPVs emitted by non-host-infested plants can confuse foraging parasitoids and reduce their foraging efficiency when non-host-infested plants are abundant. Our results further suggest that the effect of experience on foraging efficiency in the presence of non-host-infested plants depends on the similarity between the rewarding and the non-rewarding cue as well as on the completeness of information that parasitoids have acquired about the rewarding and non-rewarding cues.