Parasites live in, or on, other organisms. All parasites want to find and successfully infect a host so that they can live and reproduce. It’s hard and risky for an individual parasite to infect a host – a group attack is a safer option. Insect-infecting nematodes use this strategy by following environmental signals, such as plant volatiles (scents). We wanted to see if past experience with some volatiles changes the infection behavior of nematodes. We treated the host environment with different concentrations of two volatiles known to have an influence on nematodes and observed the infection success. Our experiments showed us that the nematodes’ past experience alters their infection behavior. 

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About this article

Summary of research
Scientists wanted to see if past experience with some plant volatiles changes the infection behavior of insect-infecting nematodes.
Reading level
Scientific field
Key words
Scientific methods
Type of figure
AP Environmental science topics
IB Biology topics
Location of research
Scientist Affiliation
Publication date
January 2019

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