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Flexible responses to visual and olfactory stimuli by foraging Manduca sexta: larval nutrition affects adult behaviour

Publiceringsår: 2009
Språk: Engelska
Sidor: 2739-2745
Publikation/Tidskrift/Serie: Royal Society of London. Proceedings B. Biological Sciences
Volym: 276
Nummer: 1668
Dokumenttyp: Artikel i tidskrift
Förlag: Royal Society


Here, we show that the consequences of deficient micronutrient (beta-carotene) intake during larval stages of Manduca sexta are carried across metamorphosis, affecting adult behaviour. Our manipulation of larval diet allowed us to examine how developmental plasticity impacts the interplay between visual and olfactory inputs on adult foraging behaviour. Larvae of M. sexta were reared on natural (Nicotiana tabacum) and artificial laboratory diets containing different concentrations of beta-carotene (standard diet, low beta-carotene, high beta-carotene and cornmeal). This vitamin-A precursor has been shown to be crucial for photoreception sensitivity in the retina of M. sexta. After completing development, post-metamorphosis, starved adults were presented with artificial feeders that could be either scented or unscented. Regardless of their larval diet, adult moths fed with relatively high probabilities on scented feeders. When feeders were unscented, moths reared on tobacco were more responsive than moths reared on beta-carotene-deficient artificial diets. Strikingly, moths reared on artificial diets supplemented with increasing amounts of beta-carotene (low beta and high beta) showed increasing probabilities of response to scentless feeders. We discuss these results in relationship to the use of complex, multi-modal sensory information by foraging animals.


  • Zoology
  • Lepidoptera
  • olfaction
  • vision
  • sensory ecology
  • hawkmoth


  • ISSN: 1471-2954

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