1. Trissolcus basalis (Wollaston) (Hymenoptera: Scelionidae) is an egg parasitoid that recognises chemical residues left by its host the green stink bug Nezara viridula (L.) (Heteroptera: Pentatomidae) as kairomone signals, enabling it to find egg masses in which to lay eggs.2. Kairomones are usually present as patches deposited by N. viridula females, and recent results (Peri et al., Journal of Experimental Biology, 209, 3629-3635, 2006) indicated that females of T. basalis are able to learn the features of their foraging environment and to adjust accordingly the amount of time spent on the patches of kairomones they are visiting, depending on whether or not host eggs are found.3. In order to assess the impact of this learning ability, a Monte Carlo, spatially explicit and individual-based simulation model was built to quantify the foraging efficiency of T. basalis females in environments with different levels of host abundance and distribution. In all cases, the present study compared the foraging efficiency of simulated T. basalis females having the ability to learn with those lacking this ability.4. Learning females always visited a higher number of kairomone patches and attacked a higher number of hosts than non-learning females, especially when there was a high density of kairomone patches in the environment.5. Learning ability globally appears to allow the maintenance of efficient foraging success, especially when there is a low probability for the kairomone patches to contain discoverable hosts.6. The increase in foraging efficiency for learning females appears to depend on the characteristics of the habitat in which they are foraging. Results thus suggest that significant variation in learning ability is likely to occur in natural wasp populations facing different environments with different host spatial distributions.
|Numero di pagine||11|
|Stato di pubblicazione||Published - 2009|
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