Prefeeding and Acceptance Behavior of an Oligophagous Beetle is Dependent on Plant Suitability and Rearing History
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Host prefeeding and acceptance behavior of herbivorous insects may strongly differ depending upon the plant species and previous experience. We examined prefeeding behaviors and acceptance of host and non-host plants by the beetle Phaedon cochleariae in populations with different rearing histories using a camera. Suitable host plants evoked short test biting followed by long feeding durations indicating that these first contacts provide sufficient information to stimulate feeding. In contrast, plants of intermediate quality caused prolonged test biting but feeding duration was rather low. When offered unsuitable plants, beetles showed only rare leaf contacts and test biting, demonstrating that test biting behavior is a useful measure of plant suitability. Rearing history had a minor influence on host plant exploitation behavior.
KeywordsBrassicaceae Chrysomelidae experience feeding behavior Phaedon cochleariae plant suitability
The authors thank the gardeners of Bielefeld University and Helge Landskron for plant cultivation and insect breeding. We thank Ann-Kathrin Höwing and Stefanie Bukovec for help with the video analyses. This work was funded by the grant MU 1829/3-1 of the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft.
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