Journal of Insect Behavior

, Volume 2, Issue 1, pp 63–89 | Cite as

Courtship inDrosophila sechellia: Its structure, functional aspects, and relationship to those of other members of theDrosophila melanogaster species subgroup

  • Matthew Cobb
  • Barrie Burnet
  • Robert Blizard
  • Jean-Marc Jallon


The courtship behavior of Drosophila sechelliais described. Male wing displays are mainly vibration and scissoring, with low levels of rowing. As courtship proceeds the proportion of courtship spent in male wing vibration and licking increases, whereas female movement decreases. The male courtship song of sechelliacontains pulse song but no sine song. This species also shows a distinctive “copulation song” associated with mounting and copulation. The main cuticular hydrocarbon in females is 7,11-heptacosadiene. The number of copulations increased when flies were placed in the presence of food. Visual and acoustic stimuli appear to be important for mating. A multidimensional comparison was used to compare members of the melanogaster species subgroup, based upon courtship behavior, song characteristics, and cuticular hydrocarbons. A multidimensional comparison of courtship sequences in sechellia, melanogaster, simulans,and mauritianashowed differences in variability between the two island species as compared to the two cosmopolitan species. The courtship song of D. orenais described: it shows both sine and pulse song; there is also a “copulation song” in this species.

Key words

Drosophila sechellia Drosophila melanogaster species subgroup Drosophila orena courtship behavior courtship song cuticular hydrocarbons 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew Cobb
    • 1
  • Barrie Burnet
    • 2
  • Robert Blizard
    • 3
  • Jean-Marc Jallon
    • 1
  1. 1.Laboratoire de Biologie et Génétique EvolutivesCNRSGif-sur-YvetteFrance
  2. 2.Department of GeneticsUniversity of SheffieldSheffieldEngland
  3. 3.Institute of PsychiatryLondonEngland

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