Cognitive adaptation in asexual and sexual wasps living in contrasted environmentsReport as inadecuate

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Differences in learning and memory dynamics between populations are suspected to result from differences in ecological constraints such as resource distribution. The two reproductive modes strains of the parasitoid wasp Venturia canescens share the same geographical areas but live in contrasting habitats: arrhenotokous wasps live in the wild generally orchards, whereas thelytokous ones live mostly in stored-products buildings e.g. granaries. This species thus represents a relevant biological model for understanding the relationship between the ecological constraints faced by a species and its memory and learning ability. We showed that after having laid eggs in presence of both a synthetic odour and natural olfactory cues of their host, arrhenotokous wasps exhibited a change in their behavioural response towards the synthetic odour that was at least as pronounced as in thelytokous ones even though they were faster in their decision-making process. This is consistent with better learning skills in arrhenotokous wasps. The corresponding memory trace persisted in both strains for at least 51 h. We compare and discuss the learning and memory ablities of both strains as a function of their costs and benefits in their preferential habitats.

Author: Lucie Froissart , Martin Giurfa, Sandrine Sauzet, Emmanuel Desouhant



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