The importance of volatiles produced by three Maruca vitrata host plant in host foraging by the parasitoid Apanteles taragamae was assessed in laboratory conditions. Different odor sources consisted of uninfested flowers, mechanically damaged flowers, M. vitrata-infested flowers and clean air arranged in various combinations were tested using a Y-tube olfactometer. The influence of volatiles produced by flowers of three key alternative host plants Lonchocarpus sericeus, Pterocarpus santalinoides and Pueraria phaseoloides were evaluated separately. Results showed that A. taragamae consistently discriminated volatiles emitted by flowers infested by M. vitrata among the other odor sources, regardless of host plants. However, the female wasps did not show any preference between, mechanically damaged flowers and clean air. Associative learning was identified as a main mechanism in the host foraging process of A. taragamae.
Keywords: Volatiles, host searching, Apanteles taragamae, wild host plants.