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Shades of yellow: interactive effects of visual and odour cues in a pest beetle

Shades of yellow: interactive effects of visual and odour cues in a pest beetle

Arnold, Sarah ORCID: 0000-0001-7345-0529 , Stevenson, Philip ORCID: 0000-0002-0736-3619 and Belmain, Steven ORCID: 0000-0002-5590-7545 (2016) Shades of yellow: interactive effects of visual and odour cues in a pest beetle. PeerJ, 4:e2219. ISSN 2376-5992 (Print), 2167-8359 (Online) (doi:

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Background: The visual ecology of pest insects is poorly studied compared to the role of odour cues in determining their behaviour. Furthermore, the combined effects of both odour and vision on insect orientation are frequently ignored, but could impact behavioural responses.

Methods: A locomotion compensator was used to evaluate use of different visual stimuli by a major coleopteran pest of stored grains (Sitophilus zeamais), with and without the presence of host odours (known to be attractive to this species) in an open-loop setup.

Results: Some visual stimuli – in particular, one shade of yellow, solid black and high contrast black-against-white stimuli – elicited positive orientation behaviour from the beetles in the absence of odour stimuli. When host odours were also present, at 90° to the source of the visual stimulus, the beetles presented with yellow and vertical black-against-white grating patterns changed their walking course and typically adopted a path intermediate between the two stimuli. The beetles presented with a solid black-on-white target continued to orient more strongly towards the visual than the odour stimulus.

Discussion: Visual stimuli can strongly influence orientation behaviour, even in species where use of visual cues is sometimes assumed to be unimportant, while the outcomes from exposure to multimodal stimuli are unpredictable and need to be determined under differing conditions. The importance of the two modalities of stimulus (visual and olfactory) in food location is likely to depend upon relative stimulus intensity and motivational state of the insect.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: © 2016 Arnold et al. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, reproduction and adaptation in any medium and for any purpose provided that it is properly attributed. For attribution, the original author(s), title, publication source (PeerJ) and either DOI or URL of the article must be cited.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Servosphere; Locomotion compensator; Colour vision; insect behaviour; Olfaction; Post-harvest entomology; Stored product pests
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Engineering & Science
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute
Faculty of Engineering & Science > Natural Resources Institute > Agriculture, Health & Environment Department
Last Modified: 27 Apr 2020 15:40

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