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ARS Home » Southeast Area » Gainesville, Florida » Center for Medical, Agricultural and Veterinary Entomology » Chemistry Research » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #322857

Research Project: Chemical Biology of Insect and Plant Signaling Systems

Location: Chemistry Research

Title: Agricultural and ecological implications of interspecific social behavioral plasticity in entomopathogenic nematodes

item Willett, Denis - University Of Florida
item Alborn, Hans
item Duncan, Larry - University Of Florida
item Stelinskil, Lukasz - University Of Florida

Submitted to: Meeting Abstract
Publication Type: Abstract Only
Publication Acceptance Date: 11/18/2015
Publication Date: N/A
Citation: N/A

Interpretive Summary:

Technical Abstract: Entomopathogenic nematodes, effective biocontrol agents of subterranean insect pests, are obligate lethal parasitoids of insect larvae that navigate a chemically complex belowground environment while interacting with their insect hosts, plants, and each other. Exposure to constitutive and herbivore induced plant volatiles appears to prime nematodes in a compound specific manner, increasing preference for volatiles to which they were previously exposed and decreasing attraction to other volatiles. Duration of exposure also influences the learning ability and memory of entomopathogenic nematodes; longer exposure not only increases preference, but also results in longer retention of that preference. In addition, these entomopathogenic nematodes display interspecific social behavioral plasticity; experienced nematodes alter the behavior of different species. The learning behavior, memory and interspecific transfer of learned information in a social context suggest a mechanism for rapid adaptation of belowground communities to dynamic environments and can inform development of practical biocontrol applications.