Effects of Experience on Host-Plant Selection

  • E. A. Bernays


Anyone who has watched insects selecting their host plants in nature is aware of the variability of responses shown by the insects with respect to attraction, landing, acceptance, and oviposition or feeding. Some of this variation results from genetic differences among individuals, and some of it is due to variation among plants that we usually cannot detect (Singer and Parmesan, 1993). However, a third variable may be even more important, and that is the effect of past experience on the herbivore. The experiential effects may be short-term and readily reversible or they may be long-term and less readily reversed. In almost all cases, plant chemicals are involved, and the experiences can profoundly influence which of the various available host plants will be selected at any given time.


Conditioned Stimulus Unconditioned Stimulus Associative Learning Artificial Diet Phytophagous Insect 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • E. A. Bernays
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Entomology and Center for Insect ScienceUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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