A general model for host plant selection in phytophagous insects

West, S.A. & Cunningham, J.P. (2002) A general model for host plant selection in phytophagous insects. Journal of Theoretical Biology, 214(3), pp. 499-513.

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Abstract

We develop a general theoretical framework for exploring the host plant selection behaviour of herbivorous insects. This model can be used to address a number of questions, including the evolution of specialists, generalists, preference hierarchies, and learning. We use our model to: (i) demonstrate the consequences of the extent to which the reproductive success of a foraging female is limited by the rate at which they find host plants (host limitation) or the number of eggs they carry (egg limitation); (ii) emphasize the different consequences of variation in behaviour before and after landing on (locating) a host (termed pre- and post-alighting, respectively); (iii) show that, in contrast to previous predictions, learning can be favoured in post-alighting behaviour--in particular, individuals can be selected to concentrate oviposition on an abundant low-quality host, whilst ignoring a rare higher-quality host; (iv) emphasize the importance of interactions between mechanisms in favouring specialization or learning.

Impact and interest:

44 citations in Scopus
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42 citations in Web of Science®

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ID Code: 60987
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
DOI: 10.1006/jtbi.2001.2475
ISSN: 1095-8541
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES (060000) > ECOLOGY (060200) > Behavioural Ecology (060201)
Divisions: Current > Schools > School of Earth, Environmental & Biological Sciences
Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Science & Engineering Faculty
Deposited On: 03 Jul 2013 04:38
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2013 22:09

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