Animals have evolved the capacity to learn, and the conventional view is that learning allows individuals to improve foraging decisions. The parasitoid Telenomus podisi has been shown to parasitize eggs of the exotic stink bug Halyomorpha halys at the same rate as eggs of its coevolved host, Podisus maculiventris, but the parasitoid cannot complete its development in the exotic species. We hypothesized that T. podisi learns to exploit cues from this noncoevolved species, thereby increasing unsuccessful parasitism rates. We conducted bioassays to compare the responses of naïve vs. experienced parasitoids on chemical footprints left by one of the two host species. Both naïve and experienced females showed a higher response to footprints of P. maculiventris than of H. halys. Furthermore, parasitoids that gained an experience on H. halys significantly increased their residence time within the arena and the frequency of re-encounter with the area contaminated by chemical cues. Hence, our study describes detrimental learning where a parasitoid learns to associate chemical cues from an unsuitable host, potentially re-enforcing a reproductive cul-de-sac (evolutionary trap). Maladaptive learning in the T. podisi-H. halys association could have consequences for population dynamics of sympatric native and exotic host species.

Learning can be detrimental for a parasitic wasp

Bertoldi V.;Rondoni G.;Conti E.;
2021

Abstract

Animals have evolved the capacity to learn, and the conventional view is that learning allows individuals to improve foraging decisions. The parasitoid Telenomus podisi has been shown to parasitize eggs of the exotic stink bug Halyomorpha halys at the same rate as eggs of its coevolved host, Podisus maculiventris, but the parasitoid cannot complete its development in the exotic species. We hypothesized that T. podisi learns to exploit cues from this noncoevolved species, thereby increasing unsuccessful parasitism rates. We conducted bioassays to compare the responses of naïve vs. experienced parasitoids on chemical footprints left by one of the two host species. Both naïve and experienced females showed a higher response to footprints of P. maculiventris than of H. halys. Furthermore, parasitoids that gained an experience on H. halys significantly increased their residence time within the arena and the frequency of re-encounter with the area contaminated by chemical cues. Hence, our study describes detrimental learning where a parasitoid learns to associate chemical cues from an unsuitable host, potentially re-enforcing a reproductive cul-de-sac (evolutionary trap). Maladaptive learning in the T. podisi-H. halys association could have consequences for population dynamics of sympatric native and exotic host species.
2021
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11391/1515985
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