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An acquired distaste: sugar discrimination by the larval parasitoid Microplitis croceipes (Hymenoptera: Braconidae) is affected by prior sugar exposure

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2014
<mark>Journal</mark>Journal of Experimental Biology
Issue number10
Number of pages9
Pages (from-to)1692-1700
Publication StatusPublished
<mark>Original language</mark>English


We examined gustatory responses of the larval parasitoid Microplitis croceipes to determine whether the adults discriminate among common sugars, including fructose, glucose, maltose and sucrose, found in plants. When given single sugar solutions of sucrose, glucose, fructose and maltose at concentrations of 0.008–2.0 mol l−1, the estimated concentrations at which 50% of wasps initiated feeding ranged between 0.054 and 0.085 mol l−1 for sucrose, glucose and fructose, which was significantly lower than for maltose. Wasps showed a strong decrease in feeding time for maltose or fructose following a brief exposure to other sugars, suggesting that wasps can distinguish maltose and fructose from the other sugars tested. The higher acceptance threshold and short feeding time in the case of maltose appears adaptive in light of the relatively poor nutritional quality of the sugar in the longevity trial. The pronounced feeding inhibition seen for fructose following exposure to other sugars is not linked with lower nutritional performance. This feeding inhibition was even seen in wasps that had fed on glucose at the lowest acceptance threshold (0.031 mol l−1) and persisted for 24 h. This study is the first to show feeding inhibition of otherwise phagostimulant sugars such as maltose and fructose after gustatory stimulation on other sugars.