Differences in the susceptibility or resistance of different plants to an insect are reflected in the magnitude of its population established on them and the resulting damage. The population of an insect on a plant is determined by an interaction between its responses and the plant's characters. As explained previously, the following six main types of responses, operating in as many stages, are involved in the establishment of an insect on a plant: (1) orientation, determining the insect's arrival on or avoidance of a plant in response to its attractant or repellent stimuli; (2) feeding responses, determining the quantity of food ingested from the plant; (3) metabolic responses involving the utilisation of the ingested food and determining the insect's nutrition; (4) development of the insect, if in the larval stage, determined by the quantitative food-intake and nutrition; (5) egg-production in the adult stage, determined by the quantitative food-intake and nutrition; and (6) oviposition.
The first, second and last of the above mentioned responses are behavioural which determine the initial selection or rejection of a plant by an insect. In order, therefore, to understand the principles governing the susceptibility/resistance of plants to an insect species, it is necessary to compare the above mentioned responses to susceptible and resistant plants and, next, to examine the role of the plant characters in determining these responses.
On the basis of the existing literature on the subject, the role of different behavioural responses of insects to plants and their characters in determining their susceptibility or resistance to their insect pests has been considered in this paper.