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Exp Appl Acarol. 2000;24(12):881-95.

How predatory mites learn to cope with variability in volatile plant signals in the environment of their herbivorous prey.

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IBED-Section Population Biology, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands.


When the chemical cues co-occurring with prey vary in time and space, foraging predators profit from an ability to repeatedly associate chemical cues with the presence of their prey. We demonstrate the ability of a predatory arthropod (the plant-inhabiting mite, Phytoseiulus persimilis) to learn the association of a positive stimulus (herbivorous prey, Tetranychus urticae) or a negative stimulus (hunger) with a chemical cue (herbivore-induced plant volatiles or green leaf volatiles). It has been suggested that the rate at which the integration of information becomes manifest as a change in behaviour, differs between categories of natural enemies (parasitoids versus insect predators: specialist versus generalist predators). We argue that these differences do not necessarily reflect differential learning ability, but rather relate to the ecologically relevant time scale at which the biotic environment changes.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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