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Decrease of memory retention in a parasitic wasp: an effect of host manipulation by Wolbachia?

Abstract : Several factors, such as cold exposure, aging, the number of experiences and viral infection, have been shown to affect learning ability in different organisms. Wolbachia has been found worldwide as an arthropod parasite/mutualist symbiont in a wide range of species, including insects. Differing effects have been identified on physiology and behavior by Wolbachia. However, the effect of Wolbachia infection on the learning ability of their host had never previously been studied. The current study carried out to compare learning ability and memory duration in two strains of the parasitoid Trichogramma brassicae: one uninfected and one infected by Wolbachia. Both strains were able to associate the novel odors with the reward of an oviposition into a host egg. However, the percentage of females that responded to the experimental design and displayed an ability to learn in these conditions was higher in the uninfected strain. Memory duration was longer in uninfected wasps (23.8 h and 21.4 h after conditioning with peppermint and lemon, respectively) than in infected wasps (18.9 h and 16.2 h after conditioning with peppermint and lemon, respectively). Memory retention increased in response to the number of conditioning sessions in both strains, but memory retention was always shorter in the infected wasps than in the uninfected ones. Wolbachia infection may select for reduced memory retention because shorter memory induces infected wasps to disperse in new environments and avoid competition with uninfected wasps by forgetting cues related to previously visited environments, thus increasing transmission of Wolbachia in new environments.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, June 21, 2016 - 4:23:19 PM
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Hossein Kishani Farahani, Ahmad Ashouri, Seyed Hossein Goldansaz, Martin S. Shapiro, Jean-Sébastien Pierre, et al.. Decrease of memory retention in a parasitic wasp: an effect of host manipulation by Wolbachia?. Insect Science, Wiley, 2017, 24 (4), pp.569-583. ⟨10.1111/1744-7917.12348⟩. ⟨hal-01305485⟩

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