Inversion of pheromone preference optimizes foraging in C. elegans
Author(s)Dal Bello, Martina; Pérez-Escudero, Alfonso; Schroeder, Frank C; Gore, Jeff
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<jats:p>Foraging animals have to locate food sources that are usually patchily distributed and subject to competition. Deciding when to leave a food patch is challenging and requires the animal to integrate information about food availability with cues signaling the presence of other individuals (e.g., pheromones). To study how social information transmitted via pheromones can aid foraging decisions, we investigated the behavioral responses of the model animal <jats:italic>Caenorhabditis elegans</jats:italic> to food depletion and pheromone accumulation in food patches. We experimentally show that animals consuming a food patch leave it at different times and that the leaving time affects the animal preference for its pheromones. In particular, worms leaving early are attracted to their pheromones, while worms leaving later are repelled by them. We further demonstrate that the inversion from attraction to repulsion depends on associative learning and, by implementing a simple model, we highlight that it is an adaptive solution to optimize food intake during foraging.</jats:p>
eLife Sciences Publications, Ltd
Dal Bello, Martina, Pérez-Escudero, Alfonso, Schroeder, Frank C and Gore, Jeff. 2021. "Inversion of pheromone preference optimizes foraging in C. elegans." eLife, 10.
Final published version