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McMaster University (2011)

Socially influenced behaviour and learning in the context of food choice and egg-laying sites in Schistocerca gregaria

Yaara Lancet

Titre : Socially influenced behaviour and learning in the context of food choice and egg-laying sites in Schistocerca gregaria

Auteur : Yaara Lancet

Université de soutenance : McMaster University

Grade : Master of Science (MS) 2011

Résumé
Social learning, defined as learning from other individuals, has been well studied in vertebrates and social insect species. In order to promote further understanding of the evolution of social learning, I tested a non-social insect for social learning and socially influenced behaviour. The desert locust (Schistocerca gregaria) is a gregarious insect which has the opportunity for social learning and can benefit from such ability. Locusts showed rapid individual learning, preferring a diet they have experienced over another of equal nutritional quality. Adult locusts also showed socially influenced behaviour, preferring to eat and lay eggs in the vicinity of other locusts over doing so alone. Fifth instar locusts did not show the same socially influenced behaviours. Neither adult nor nymphs showed social learning after interacting with previously fed models or after observing models feed through a screen. These results provide evidence for socially influenced behaviour in locusts and for a difference in social behaviour between nymphs and adults. Further research utilizing locusts as a model system may help us gain a better understanding of the evolution of social learning

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Page publiée le 13 septembre 2012, mise à jour le 7 février 2018