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Insects. 2019 May 3;10(5). pii: E127. doi: 10.3390/insects10050127.

Early Olfactory Environment Influences Antennal Sensitivity and Choice of the Host-Plant Complex in a Parasitoid Wasp.

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UMR IGEPP, Agrocampus Ouest, 49054 Angers, France.
UMR IGEPP, Agrocampus Ouest, 49054 Angers, France.
UMR IGEPP, Université Rennes 1, 35000 Rennes, France.
UMR IGEPP, Agrocampus Ouest, 49054 Angers, France.
UMR IGEPP, Agrocampus Ouest, 49054 Angers, France.


Early experience of olfactory stimuli associated with their host-plant complex (HPC) is an important driver of parasitoid foraging choices, notably leading to host fidelity. Mechanisms involved, such as peripheral or central modulation, and the impact of a complex olfactory environment are unknown. Using olfactometer assays, we compared HPC preference of Aphidius ervi Haliday (Hymenoptera:Braconidae) females originating from two different HPCs, either with the other HPC in close vicinity (complex environment) or without (simple environment). We also investigated antennal responses to volatiles differentially emitted by the two respective HPCs. In a simple environment, HPC of origin had an influence on olfactory choice, but the preferences observed were asymmetric according to parasitoid origin. Electroantennographic recordings revealed significant sensitivity differences for some of the tested individual volatiles, which are emitted differentially by the two HPCs. Besides, presence of an alternative HPC during early stages modified subsequent parasitoid preferences. We discuss how increased olfactory complexity could influence parasitoid host foraging and biological control in diversified cropping systems.


Aphidius ervi; Braconidae; early experience; electroantennography; host choice; olfactometry

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