An Issue Of Growing Import: How Insects Find Food

Living plants and animals produce volatile chemicals as a consequence of their normal metabolic activities. In addition, many plants produce odors as interspecific signals and animals often communicate intraspecifically by odors (pheromones). Decomposition results in the production of odors from dead organic materials. These different odors are used by many insects to locate their food and by others to find oviposition sites where the larvae will subsequently feed. Consequently, the range of ins

Reginald Chapman
Sep 18, 1988
Living plants and animals produce volatile chemicals as a consequence of their normal metabolic activities. In addition, many plants produce odors as interspecific signals and animals often communicate intraspecifically by odors (pheromones). Decomposition results in the production of odors from dead organic materials. These different odors are used by many insects to locate their food and by others to find oviposition sites where the larvae will subsequently feed. Consequently, the range of insects responding to food odors is very wide.

Before the late 1960s studies in these phenomena were largely descriptive, but host-locating by blood-sucking flies was an exception. Work in this area was stimulatedby the recognition that an understanding of host-finding behavior might provide effective means of monitoring populations and perhaps even controlling them. Work on phytophagous insects has subsequently been stimulated by the world food shortage and the realization that here, too, the knowledge would be of practical...

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