Behavioural plasticity allows insects to respond to changing environmental conditions. We are especially interested in the mechanisms underlying the modulation of olfactory mediated behaviour. Holometabolous insects generally experience a tremendous change of their natural environment as metamorphosis implicates a shift in juvenile and adult habitat and lifestyle.

The project investigates how host plant preference in larvae of the cotton leafworm Spodoptera littoralis correlates with the mother’s oviposition choice and how larvae are able to modulate their behaviour in response to differences in the sensory qualities of their range of host plants.

In our research we investigate different levels of chemical induced behaviour like the chemical stimuli, the sensory physiological detection and processing, and the ecological and evolutionary relevance of the behavioural output. In addition to our focus on olfactory modulation we are interested on the impact of microbes on larval host preference.

The project is closely linked to other ongoing projects on host plant choice, volatile plant compounds, coding and modulation of host plant attraction as well as insect-microbe interactions.




Santosh Revadi, Peter Anderson