Phytochemical basis of learning in Rhagoletis pomonella and other herbivorous insects

Daniel R. Papaj, Ronald J. Prokopy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations


Examples of phytochemically-based learning of host preference in herbivorous insects are reviewed in the context of traditionally important issues: the number and kinds of chemicals involved; which sensory modalities are affected; whether peripheral or central nervous processing is altered; and whether learning is associative or not. A fifth issue addressed here- whether experience enhances a feeding or ovipositing insect's propensity to accept familiar chemical stimuli or to reject novel chemical stimuli-has been ignored in previous studies. Following the review, evidence is presented indicating that female apple maggot flies (Ragoletis pomonella) learn to reject both novel physical and novel chemical stimuli.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1125-1143
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Chemical Ecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1986


  • Diptera
  • Learning
  • Rhagoletis pomonella
  • Tephritidae
  • herbivorous insects
  • host preference
  • phytochemistry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry


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