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Great Tits Learn Odors and Colors Equally Well, and Show No Predisposition for Herbivore-Induced Plant Volatiles

Rubene, Diana and Urhan, Utku and Ninkovic, Velemir and Brodin, Anders (2022). Great Tits Learn Odors and Colors Equally Well, and Show No Predisposition for Herbivore-Induced Plant Volatiles. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution. 9 , 800057
[Research article]

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Abstract

Ability to efficiently localize productive foraging habitat is crucial for nesting success of insectivorous birds. Some bird species can use olfaction to identify caterpillar-infested trees by detection of herbivore induced plant volatiles (HIPVs), but these cues probably need to be learned. So far, we know very little about the process of olfactory learning in birds, whether insectivorous species have a predisposition for detecting and learning HIPVs, due to the high ecological significance of these odors, and how olfaction is integrated with vision in making foraging decisions. In a standardized setup, we tested whether 35 wild-caught great tits (Parus major) show any preference for widely abundant HIPVs compared to neutral (non-induced) plant odors, how fast they learn to associate olfactory, visual and multimodal foraging cues with food, and whether the olfactory preferences and learning speed were influenced by bird sex or habitat (urban or rural). We also tested how fast birds switch to a new cue of the same modality. Great tits showed no initial preference for HIPVs compared to neutral odors, and they learned all olfactory cues at a similar pace, except for methyl salicylate (MeSA), which they learned more slowly. We also found no differences in learning speeds between visual, olfactory and multimodal foraging cues, but birds learned the second cue they were offered faster than the first one. Bird sex or habitat had no effect on learning speed or olfactory preference, but urban birds tended to learn visual cues more slowly. We conclude that insectivorous birds utilize olfactory and visual cues with similar efficiency in foraging, and that they probably don't have any special predisposition toward the tested HIPVs. These results confirm that great tits are flexible foragers with good learning abilities.

Authors/Creators:Rubene, Diana and Urhan, Utku and Ninkovic, Velemir and Brodin, Anders
Title:Great Tits Learn Odors and Colors Equally Well, and Show No Predisposition for Herbivore-Induced Plant Volatiles
Series Name/Journal:Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Year of publishing :2022
Volume:9
Article number:800057
Number of Pages:10
Publisher:FRONTIERS MEDIA SA
ISSN:2296-701X
Language:English
Publication Type:Research article
Article category:Scientific peer reviewed
Version:Published version
Copyright:Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0
Full Text Status:Public
Subjects:(A) Swedish standard research categories 2011 > 1 Natural sciences > 106 Biological Sciences (Medical to be 3 and Agricultural to be 4) > Ecology
Keywords:bird senses, olfactory learning, visual learning, HIPV, bird olfaction, great tit, foraging cues
URN:NBN:urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-116190
Permanent URL:
http://urn.kb.se/resolve?urn=urn:nbn:se:slu:epsilon-p-116190
Additional ID:
Type of IDID
DOI10.3389/fevo.2021.800057
Web of Science (WoS)000749485700001
ID Code:27191
Faculty:S - Faculty of Forest Sciences
NJ - Fakulteten för naturresurser och jordbruksvetenskap
Department:(NL, NJ) > Dept. of Ecology
(S) > Dept. of Ecology
Deposited By: SLUpub Connector
Deposited On:23 Feb 2022 14:26
Metadata Last Modified:23 Feb 2022 14:31

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