Work on insect learning has made ample use of conditioned behaviors in single learning tasks. Parasitic wasps are particularly suited to study more complex learning processes, as they alternate between host searching and foraging for sugar sources. We here describe a set of behaviors that unambiguously represents sugar feeding in the Hymenopteran parasitoid Microplitis croceipes (Cresson) (Hymenoptera: Braconidae). Furthermore, we demonstrate that this parasitoid can be conditioned to exhibit these behaviors in response to odor stimuli previously associated with feeding. In conjunction with a previously described ovipositor probing response in this species, our findings constitute the first instance in which multiple conditioned behaviors representing feeding and reproduction have been identified for one insect species. This provides a valuable tool for the study of multiple task learning.
Wäckers, F., Bonifay, C., & Lewis, W. J. (2002). Conditioning of appetitive behavior in the Hymenopteran parasitoid Microplitis croceipes. Entomologia Experimentalis et Applicata, 103, 135-138. https://doi.org/10.1046/j.1570-7458.2002.00970.x