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United States Department of Agriculture

Agricultural Research Service


item Kroutov, Vadim - UNIV. OF FL
item Mayer, Marion
item Emmel, T. - UNIV. OF FL

Submitted to: Journal of Insect Behavior
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: June 1, 1999
Publication Date: September 1, 1999
Citation: Kroutov, V., Mayer, M.S., Emmel, T.C. 1999. Olfactory conditioning of the butterfly agraulis vanillae (l.) (lepidopteranymphalidae) to floral but not host-plant odors. Journal of Insect Behavior. v. 12. p. 833-843.

Interpretive Summary: Scientists at the University of Florida and the Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology, in Gainesville, FL have demonstrated that a butterfly can learn to discriminate volatile chemicals from host plants from other floral odors. The concept and procedures that were used to demonstrate this capability can be extended to economically important moth species to determine whether or not volatile chemicals from host plants are used by males to find either host plants for feeding or as a means to facilitate the location of sex pheromone-emitting females. Furthermore, slight modifications in the procedure can be used to determine specifically which compounds may be effective.

Technical Abstract: The associative learning capacity of male and female nymphalid butterflies, Agraulis vanillae, was investigated. Both males and females were conditioned to chemical stimuli of amyl acetate and butyl acetate, but not of host-plant volatile emissions, although our EAG recordings demonstrate that Agraulis can detect host-plant aroma as well as both acetates. More female than male Agraulis were conditioned . Female butterflies reared in the laboratory generally exhibited a higher percentage of conditional responses than those collected in nature. The number of conditional responses on the 1st day of experiments was significantly smaller than on the ensuing 2-7 days.

Last Modified: 8/31/2015
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