Olfaction is a key sense routing foraging behaviour in parasitoids. Preferences for food, mate and host stimuli can be innate in parasitic wasps. Alternatively, learning-mediated mechanisms play a crucial role. Females of the braconid parasitoid Psyttalia concolor exploit olfactory cues arising from tephritid hosts and related microhabitats. However, little is known on the olfactory stimuli routing males searching for mates. In this study, we focused on the attractiveness of Bactrocera oleae-induced olive volatiles towards P. concolor males. Furthermore, we evaluated learning occurrence in virgin males, when trained for selected unattractive volatile organic compounds (VOCs) associated with mate rewards. (E)-β-Ocimene, α-pinene and limonene attracted virgin males in Y-tube bioassays. Unattractive VOCs evoked positive chemotaxis after associative learning training. P. concolor males exposed to VOCs during a successful or unsuccessful mating, showed short-term preference for these VOCs (<1 h). However, memory consolidation was strictly dependent on reward value. Indeed, males experiencing a successful mating showed a fast consolidation into protein dependent long-term memory, appearing after 24 h. On the other hand, males experiencing a less valuable training experience (i.e. unsuccessful courtship), did not show consolidated memory after 24 h. Overall, our findings suggest that P. concolor virgin males may exploit VOCs from the host microhabitat to boost their mate searching activity, thus their reproductive success. However, since learning is a costly process, P. concolor males retained durable memories just in presence of a valuable reward, thus avoiding maladaptive behaviours.

Bactrocera oleae-induced olive VOCs routing mate searching in Psyttalia concolor males: impact of associative learning

PALMERI, Vincenzo;
2018

Abstract

Olfaction is a key sense routing foraging behaviour in parasitoids. Preferences for food, mate and host stimuli can be innate in parasitic wasps. Alternatively, learning-mediated mechanisms play a crucial role. Females of the braconid parasitoid Psyttalia concolor exploit olfactory cues arising from tephritid hosts and related microhabitats. However, little is known on the olfactory stimuli routing males searching for mates. In this study, we focused on the attractiveness of Bactrocera oleae-induced olive volatiles towards P. concolor males. Furthermore, we evaluated learning occurrence in virgin males, when trained for selected unattractive volatile organic compounds (VOCs) associated with mate rewards. (E)-β-Ocimene, α-pinene and limonene attracted virgin males in Y-tube bioassays. Unattractive VOCs evoked positive chemotaxis after associative learning training. P. concolor males exposed to VOCs during a successful or unsuccessful mating, showed short-term preference for these VOCs (<1 h). However, memory consolidation was strictly dependent on reward value. Indeed, males experiencing a successful mating showed a fast consolidation into protein dependent long-term memory, appearing after 24 h. On the other hand, males experiencing a less valuable training experience (i.e. unsuccessful courtship), did not show consolidated memory after 24 h. Overall, our findings suggest that P. concolor virgin males may exploit VOCs from the host microhabitat to boost their mate searching activity, thus their reproductive success. However, since learning is a costly process, P. concolor males retained durable memories just in presence of a valuable reward, thus avoiding maladaptive behaviours.
biological control; Braconidae; olive fruit fly
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.12318/1562
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