The association of insect herbivores with their host plants is influenced by behaviors governing acceptance of those plants for feeding and oviposition. Behavioral changes accompany and may even precede host range expansion. Characterization and quantification of specific behaviors often form the basis of studies on host plant adaptation and chemical ecology. Behavioral assays of insects are usually designed to measure attraction for feeding or oviposition in relation to their host plants or specific chemistry. We review behavioral assays of insect herbivores with host plants or the volatiles they emit, with special consideration given to design, analysis, and interpretation to maximize ecological relevance. A toolkit of robust assays can help address fundamental issues at the intersection of ecology and evolution, such as the underpinnings of plant-insect interactions and the identification of genes involved in host race formation.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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