Visual behaviour of neonate larvae of the light brown apple moth

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Abstract

When neonate larvae of a leafroller moth, Epiphyas postvittana (Walker) (Lepidoptera: Tortricidae) were released into the middle of a circular arena with blue paper on one side of the arena and apple foliage on the other side, more larvae walked towards the apple foliage. These oriented responses were enhanced, in terms of the number of larvae responding, by increasing the amount of light reflected from or transmitted through apple foliage. Larvae also responded to painted targets, and specifically to targets reflecting light in the region of 470–570 nm (green-yellow region to the human eye). When the amount of 470–570 nm reflected from targets was reduced, numbers of larvae responding to targets decreased. The addition of 400–500 nm reflected light to 470–570 nm reflected light also resulted in a reduction of oriented responses to targets. Tests using neutral colours (white, black, and a series of greys) indicated that, in the absence of targets reflecting primarily in the 470–570 nm region, larvae oriented towards targets with low levels of reflectance. When the orientation of walking larvae was measured at various distances from targets of different colours or diameters, targets subtending 5–8 degrees elicited responses from 50% of all larvae. Behaviour other than walking was also influenced by visual stimuli: fewer larvae spun down on a silken thread when blue paper was placed beneath a walking platform than when brown or green papers were present.

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