The role of learning in the feeding behavior of antlions

dc.contributorMillard, Willen_US
dc.contributor.advisorHollis, Karenen_US
dc.contributor.authorHayden, Amberen_US 09:46:18en_US
dc.description.abstractAlthough previous research has demonstrated that insects are indeed capable of responding to a learned food signal, those studies focused mainly on insects with active methods of predation. The present study investigated the role of learning in the feeding behavior of antlions (Myrmeleon immaculatus), a sit-and-wait predator. The study used 24 antlions and consisted of three phases. In the Pre-training Phase (4 days), each antlion was placed in an individual bowl within an enclosure and allowed to dig a pit and feed once daily. During the Training Phase (16 days), antlions received one of two treatment groups: Pavlovian (PAV) or Control (CON). The PAV treatment group received 5 s of sand dropping next to each animal's pit preceding by the presentation of food. The CON treatment received 5 s of sand dropping next to each animal's pit at one time of the day, and presentation of food at another, different time of the day such that these events independent of one another. On the Test Day (Day 17), antlions from both groups were exposed to 5 s of sand dropping followed by the presentation of food. Measures of the pit (depth, diameter and volume) and prey consumption (extraction rate, extraction efficiency and extraction efficiency rate) via extraction, which refers to the amount of prey fluid removed from the carcass, were obtained. A comparison of groups' feeding behaviors during the Training Phase, as well as between the Training Phase and Testing Day, revealed that antlions respond to learned food signals by an increase in extraction efficiency, extraction rate, pit diameter and pit volume.en_US
dc.description.sponsorshipNeuroscience & Behavioren_US
dc.subjectclassical conditioningen_US
dc.subjectfeeding behavioren_US
dc.subjectinsect behavioren_US
dc.subjectPavlovian conditioningen_US
dc.titleThe role of learning in the feeding behavior of antlionsen_US
mhc.institutionMount Holyoke Collegeen_US


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