Dietary Salt Levels Affect Salt Preference and Learning in Larval Drosophila

Cheryl Russell, Jan Wessnitzer, Joanna M. Young, J. Douglas Armstrong, Barbara Webb

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Drosophila larvae change from exhibiting attraction to aversion as the concentration of salt in a substrate is increased. However, some aversive concentrations appear to act as positive reinforcers, increasing attraction to an odour with which they have been paired. We test whether this surprising dissociation between the unconditioned and conditioned response depends on the larvae's experience of salt concentration in their food. We find that although the point at which a NaCl concentration becomes aversive shifts with different rearing experience, the dissociation remains evident. Testing larvae using a substrate 0.025M above the NaCl concentration on which the larvae were reared consistently results in aversive choice behaviour but appetitive reinforcement effects.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere20100
Number of pages8
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2011


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