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Host plant choice in spider mites – does mother know best?

Kyriakou, Konstantinos (2024) Host plant choice in spider mites – does mother know best? Bachelor's Research Project (period 2a), Biology.


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When learning provides an individual with an increase in reproductive success it can be described as adaptive learning. This study investigates adaptive learning in two-spotted spider mites (Tetranychus urticae) through a series of experiments, aimed at understanding to which extent preference and aversion influences host plant choice between lemon (Citrus limon), potato (Solanum tuberosum), and rose (Rosa spp.). The results indicated that lemon was significantly detrimental towards the fitness of the spider, whereas potato and rose did not have significant effects on their reproductive success. The spider mites displayed a significant disliking of lemon as a feeding and oviposition substrate, proving that mites are capable of adaptive learning when combined with the results for fitness. The final experiment showed that the differences between preference and aversion when it comes to deciding on a host plant are insignificant, hinting towards a more complex and intricate relationship between these two underlying mechanisms. Though many of the results obtained were not statistically significant, this report aims to offer insights for future research investigating the ecological and evolutionary importance of adaptive learning, as well as the mechanisms behind it.

Item Type: Thesis (Bachelor's Research Project (period 2a))
Supervisor name: Egas, C.J.M.
Degree programme: Biology
Thesis type: Bachelor's Research Project (period 2a)
Language: English
Date Deposited: 01 May 2024 13:03
Last Modified: 07 May 2024 11:35

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