Evidence of associative blocking during foraging in the social wasp Vespula germanica
MOREYRA SABRINA; D'ADAMO, P.; LOZADA, M.
WILEY-BLACKWELL PUBLISHING, INC
Lugar: Londres; Año: 2020
While foraging, Vespula germanica usually return to abundant food sites. Duringthis relocation behavior, these wasps learn to identify contextual cues associated with foodposition. We analyzed associative blocking in this species, i.e., how an association with aconditioned stimulus (CS1) blocks subsequent learning when a novel stimulus (CS2) isadded on a second foraging visit. Three groups of wasps (A, B and C; total 74 individualwasps) were observed while collecting meat during one or two consecutive visits. In groupA, an environmental cue (CS1) was paired with food placed at a specific site, and on thesecond visit, a second cue (CS2) was added while food remained in the same position. In asubsequent testing phase, CS1 was removed and the food source displaced nearby. We thenrecorded the number of hovers performed over the empty dish (previously baited). Group Awasps appeared to ignore the addition of CS2 on their second visit because they performedfewer hovers over the learned site. For group A, the duration of the decision-makingprocess to finally fly towards the baited dish was shorter than when CS1 and CS2 werepresented together on their first visit (group B). This is the first study to demonstrate theoccurrence of associative blocking in vespids, confirming that a prior foraging experienceinfluences subsequent food relocation in V. germanica. Our findings reveal that firstlearning episodes block further associations with novel contextual cues, contributing tounderstanding of complex cognitive processes involved in V. germanica´s foragingbehavior.