This study addressed the possible behaviora induction effects of previous exposure to several specific host plants on subsequent host "preference hierarchy" and "specificity" (i.e .. how far down the ranking order a female will go) the most polyphagous swallowtail butterfly in the world, Papilio glaucus (Papilionidae). Multi-choice preference bioassays using individual females in revolving arenas were used to assess one of the potentially most significant non-genetic sources of variation: learned (or induced) oviposition preferences. Results of the 4-choice studies using tulip tree (Liriodendron tulipifera; Magnoliaceae), black cherry (Prunus serotina; Rosaceae), quaking aspen (Populus tremuloides; Salicaceae), and hoptree (Ptelea trifoliata; Rutaceae), fail to show any significant oviposition preference induction with two-day prior exposure to any of the host species tested. It appears that the eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly, while polyphagous as a species (feeding on more than 9 families of plants), and variable in its population responses to oviposition favorites, has what may be considered a genetic "hard-wiring" at an individual level, with no evidence that preferences change with recent oviposition experience. Older females were not and did not become more random in their choices, and in fact increased in their specificity for tulip tree leaves.
Scriber, J Mark
"Absence of Behavioral Induction in Oviposition Preference of Papilio Glaucus (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae),"
The Great Lakes Entomologist: Vol. 26
, Article 1.
Available at: http://scholar.valpo.edu/tgle/vol26/iss2/1