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What matters in the associative learning of visual cues in foraging parasitoid wasps: colour or brightness?

Abstract : Visual cues are known to be used by numerous animal taxa to gather information on quality and localisation of resources. Because environmental lighting can interfere with the spectral features of visual cues, the specific characteristics of the colour signals that promote forager decision and learning are still not known in the majority of insects (excepted in bees). We analysed the effect of previous experience on the use of visual information by the wasp Venturia canescens, a parasitoid of pyralidae, in the context of host searching. These parasitoids search for hosts concealed in several fruit species, so visual cues from the host microhabitat could play a key role in host finding. We also investigated the type of visual cues on which wasps based their decision. We tested whether wasps are able to associate an achromatic cue (brightness) or a chromatic one (hue, i.e. dominant wavelength and/or chroma) with the presence of hosts. Our results show that in the context of host foraging, chromatic cues are more reliable than brightness in achieving the associative learning process. Therefore, understanding the behavioural ecology of foraging should make use of the knowledge about the visual information used.
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Contributor : Marc Théry Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, February 9, 2010 - 11:43:35 AM
Last modification on : Thursday, July 7, 2022 - 3:07:39 AM

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Emmanuel Desouhant, Simon Navel, Emmeline Foubert, Deborah Fischbein, Marc Théry, et al.. What matters in the associative learning of visual cues in foraging parasitoid wasps: colour or brightness?. Animal Cognition, Springer Verlag (Germany), 2009, epub ahead of print. ⟨10.1007/s10071-009-0304-2⟩. ⟨hal-00454731⟩



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