Parasitoids exploit numerous chemical cues to locate hosts and food. Whether they detect and learn chemicals foreign to their natural history has not been explored. We show that the parasitoid Microplitis croceipes can associate, with food or hosts, widely different chemicals outside their natural foraging encounters. When learned chemicals are subsequently detected, this parasitoid manifests distinct behaviors characteristic with expectations of food or host, commensurate with prior training. This flexibility of parasitoids to rapidly link diverse chemicals to resource needs and subsequently report them with recognizable behaviors offers new insights into their foraging adaptability, and provides a model for further dissection of olfactory learning related processes.
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