Male fruit flies put more effort into mating after meeting rivals
London: Male fruit flies consistently change their mating behaviour depending on whether they have spent time with other males before mating, according to a new study.
Scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA) studied how male Drosophila melanogaster - or fruit flies - change their mating behaviour in response to their social environment.
Previously, the UEA team had found that in a single mating, males exposed to male rivals prior to mating mated for significantly longer and produced more offspring than those held alone.
In the new research they explored whether males could change their behaviour when exposed to a series of different social environments, by repeatedly switching whether males encountered a male rival.
They found that males could accurately match their behaviour to their most recent social environment, but that they were less good at matching their ‘investment’ in offspring.
“We found that the behaviour of male fruit flies was remarkably sophisticated, and consistently changed depending on the amount of male competition in their environment,” said lead author Prof Tracey Chapman of UEA’s School of Biological Sciences.
“Generally, those males exposed to other males prior to mating reproduced more successfully than those who had not. It is difficult to directly extrapolate from one species to another, but our study provides useful insights into how a male’s social environment can affect his success as a father,” Chapman noted.
The most likely reason for the changes in mating behaviour is that males put more effort into mating when they expect to face competition and when there is a high chance that their mate will mate again with another male.
If the male does not expect competition, because he has not detected any other males in his environment, he does not need to invest so much effort and so saves his resources for future matings.
The findings will be useful in situations where improvements in male fertility are desirable, such as in agriculture, in biological control of pest species, and in conservation breeding programs.
In the future, this new information could enable the manipulation of socio-sexual environments to improve mating success and fertility.
The finding has been published in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B.
More from India
More from World
More from Sports
More from Entertaiment
- Aware of Chinese submarine deployment at Balochistan's Gwadar port, says Navy chief
- Like SAARC, should India boycott Pak in Heart of Asia conference?
- 'Heart of Asia' Conference begins in Amritsar; Sartaj Aziz to pay a visit on Sunday
- Panel discussion over Mamata Banerjee's false allegations on Indian Army for political gains
- Watch: Reports on final deal of M-777 tanks between India and America
- Gujarat businessman declares highest ever black money amount – Rs 13,000 crore!
- Rs 14,000 crore default case: Gujarat businessman detained, says money belongs to politicians, babus
- Newly-wed couple Yuvraj Singh and Hazel Keech perform `bhangra` at Goa airport – Viral video
- Gujarat man who disclosed Rs 14,000 crore unaccounted wealth goes missing
- Rahul Dravid heaps praise on Virat Kohli, R Ashwin; calls duo modern cricket legends