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Influence of dietary experience on the induction of preference of adult moths and larvae for a new olfactory cue

Abstract : In Lepidoptera, host plant selection is first conditioned by oviposition site preference of adult females followed by feeding site preference of larvae. Dietary experience to plant volatile cues can induce larval and adult host plant preference. We investigated how the parent's and self-experience induce host preference in adult females and larvae of three lepidopteran stem borer species with different host plant ranges, namely the polyphagous Sesamia nonagrioides, the oligophagous Busseola fusca and the monophagous Busseola nairobica, and whether this induction can be linked to a neurophysiological phenotypic plasticity. The three species were conditioned to artificial diet enriched with vanillin from the neonate larvae to the adult stage during two generations. Thereafter, two-choice tests on both larvae and adults using a Y-tube olfactometer and electrophysiological (electroantennography [EAG] recordings) experiments on adults were carried out. In the polyphagous species, the induction of preference for a new olfactory cue (vanillin) by females and 3rd instar larvae was determined by parents' and self-experiences, without any modification of the sensitivity of the females antennae. No preference induction was found in the oligophagous and monophagous species. Our results suggest that lepidopteran stem borers may acquire preferences for new olfactory cues from the larval to the adult stage as described by Hopkins' host selection principle (HHSP), neo-Hopkins' principle, and the concept of 'chemical legacy.'
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Christophe Petit, Bruno Le Ru, Stéphane Dupas, Brigitte Frerot, Peter Ahuya, et al.. Influence of dietary experience on the induction of preference of adult moths and larvae for a new olfactory cue. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2015, 10 (8), ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0136169⟩. ⟨hal-02636504⟩

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