Can mechanism help explain insect host choice?

Cunningham, JP (2012) Can mechanism help explain insect host choice?. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 25 2: 244-251. doi:10.1111/j.1420-9101.2011.02435.x

Author Cunningham, JP
Title Can mechanism help explain insect host choice?
Journal name Journal of Evolutionary Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1010-061X
Publication date 2012-02
Sub-type Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
DOI 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2011.02435.x
Volume 25
Issue 2
Start page 244
End page 251
Total pages 8
Place of publication Oxford, U.K.
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing
Collection year 2013
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Evolutionary theory predicts that herbivorous insects should lay eggs on plants in a way that reflects the suitability of each plant species for larval development. Empirical studies, however, often fail to find any relationship between an adult insect’s choice of host–plant and offspring fitness, and in such cases, it is generally assumed that other ‘missing’ factors (e.g. predation, host–plant abundance, learning and adult feeding sites) must be contributing to overall host suitability. Here, I consider an alternative theory – that a fitness cost inherent in the olfactory mechanism could constrain the evolution of insect host selection. I begin by reviewing current knowledge of odour processing in the insect antennal lobe with the aid of a simple schematic: the aim being to explain the workings of this mechanism to scientists who do not have prior knowledge in this field. I then use the schematic to explore how an insect’s perception of host and non-host odours is governed by a set of processing rules, or algorithm. Under the assumptions of this mechanistic view, the perception of every plant odour is interrelated, and seemingly bad host choices can still arise as part of an overall adaptive behavioural strategy. I discuss how an understanding of mechanism can improve the interpretation of theoretical and empirical studies in insect behaviour and evolution.
Keyword Antennal lobe
Host selection
Information processing
Drosophila antennal lobe
Phytophagous insects
Odor mixtures
Oviposition preference
Local interneurons
Plant selection
Olfactory information
Projection neurons
Honeybee brain
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Critical review of research, literature review, critical commentary
Collections: Official 2013 Collection
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 19 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
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