Effect of Drosophila melanogaster Female Size on Male Mating Success
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In this study, we examined the influence of female size on mating success in Drosophila melanogaster. The results that were obtained from experiments performed in mating chambers allowed us to confirm the results of previous studies, demonstrating higher mating success of larger D. melanogaster males, and to conclude that female size also affects mating success, either when considering a single male or two competing males. We observed that the advantage for larger males depends on their size relative to that of the female, demonstrating a previously unknown role for female size in mating behavior studies. This effect of female size on mating success depends on various factors: males take longer to initiate courtship toward larger females, large females receive more wing vibrations from males prior to mating, and large females tend to keep moving for longer periods during male courtship. The importance of this finding is discussed in the context of recent reports on sexual conflict in D. melanogaster, in which males were observed to depress fitness in females as a result of intercourse.
KeywordsMating behavior Drosophila melanogaster male size female size
We are most grateful to J. de la Horra, P. Martinez, R. Matesanz and S. Sanchez-Pagés for their comments on the manuscript, and L. P. Wilson for style corrections. This work was supported by the Spanish Ministry of Science and Technology (Grant No. BFU-2004-03894).
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