, Volume 138, Issue 1, pp 127–134 | Cite as

High sexual signalling rates of young individuals predict extended life span in male Mediterranean fruit flies

  • Nikos T. Papadopoulos
  • Byron I. Katsoyannos
  • Nikos A. Kouloussis
  • James R. Carey
  • Hans-Georg Müller
  • Ying Zhang
Behavioural Ecology


In a laboratory study, we monitored the lifetime sexual signalling (advertisement) of wild male Mediterranean fruit flies, and we tested the hypothesis that high lifetime intensity of sexual signalling indicates high survival probabilities. Almost all males exhibited signalling and individual signalling rates were highly variable from the beginning of the adults’ maturity and throughout their life span (average life span 62.3 days). Sexual signalling rates after day 10 (peak maturity) were consistently high until about 1 week before death. There was a positive relationship between daily signalling rates and life span, and an increase in signalling level by one unit over all times was associated with an approximately 50% decrease in mortality rate. Signalling rates early in adult life (day 6–20) were higher in the longest-lived than in the shortest-lived flies. These results support the hypothesis that intense sexual signalling indicates longer life span. We discuss the importance of age-specific behavioural studies for understanding the evolution of male life histories.


Behavioural demography Ceratitis capitata Life span Lifetime behaviour Sexual calling 


  1. Alcock J (1997) Animal behavior, 6th edn. Sinauer, Sunderland, Mass.Google Scholar
  2. Andersson M (1994) Sexual selection. Princeton University Press, Princeton, N.J.Google Scholar
  3. Andersson M, Iwasa Y (1996) Sexual selection. Trends Ecol Evol 11:53-58Google Scholar
  4. Arita LH, Kaneshiro KY (1985) The dynamics of the lek system and mating success in males of the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Wiedemann). Proc Hawaii Entomol Soc 25:39–48Google Scholar
  5. Arita LH, Kaneshiro KY (1986) Structure and function of the rectal epithelium and anal glands during mating behavior in the Mediterranean fruit fly male. Proc Hawaii Entomol Soc 26:27–30Google Scholar
  6. Banks MJ, Thompson DJ (1985) Lifetime mating success in the damselfly Coenagrion puella. Anim Behav 33:1175–1183Google Scholar
  7. Barnard CJ (1983) Animal behaviour: ecology and evolution. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  8. Bock ME, Reisen WK, Milby MM (1983) Lifetime mating pattern of laboratory-adapted Culex tarsalis males. Mosq News 43:350–354Google Scholar
  9. Brooks R, Kemp DJ (2001) Can older males deliver the good genes? Trends Ecol Evol 16:308–313PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. Carey JR (1993) Applied demography for biologists with special emphasis on insects. Oxford University Press, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  11. Carey JR, Liedo P, Müller HG, Wang JL, Vaupel JW (1998) A simple graphical technique for displaying individual fertility data and cohort survival: case study of 1000 Mediterranean fruit fly females. Funct Ecol 12:359–363CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Chapman T, Miyatake T, Smith HK, Partridge L (1998) Interactions of mating, egg production and death rates in females of the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata. Proc R Soc Lond B 265:1879–1894CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  13. Cordero Rivera A, Andres Abad JA (1999) Lifetime mating success, survivorship and synchronized reproduction in the damselfly Ischnura pumilio (Odonata: Coenagrionidae). Int J Odonatol 2:105–114Google Scholar
  14. Cordts R, Partridge L (1996) Courtship reduces longevity of male Drosophila melanogaster. Anim Behav 52:269–278CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Cox DR (1972) Regression models and life tables (with discussion). J R Stat Soc B 34:187-220Google Scholar
  16. Crnokrak P, Roff DA (1995) Fitness differences associated with calling behaviour in the two wing morphs of male sand crickets, Gryllus firmus. Anim Behav 50:1475–1481Google Scholar
  17. Deka M, Hazarika LK (1998) Lifetime mating pattern of rice hispa, Dicladispa armigera (Oliv.) (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae). Crop Res Hisar 16:253–256Google Scholar
  18. Eberhard W (2000) Sexual behavior and sexual selection in the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Dacinae: Ceratitidini). In: Aluja M, Norrbom A (eds) Fruit flies (Tephritidae): phylogeny and evolution of behavior. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla, pp 457–489Google Scholar
  19. Féron M (1962) L’instinct de reproduction chez la mouche méditerranéean des fruits Ceratitis capitata Wied. (Dipt. Trypetidae). Comportement sexuel. Comportement de ponte. Rev Path Veg Entomol Agr Fr 41:1–129Google Scholar
  20. Fitzpatrick SM, McNeil JN (1989) Lifetime mating potential and reproductive success in males of the true armyworm, Pseudaletia unipuncta (Haw.) (Lepidoptera: Noctuidae). Funct Ecol 3:37–44Google Scholar
  21. Futuyama DJ (1997) Evolutionary biology. Sinauer, Sunderland, Mass.Google Scholar
  22. Hendrichs MA, Hendrichs J (1998) Perfumed to be killed: Interception of Mediterranean fruit fly (Diptera: Tephritidae) sexual signalling by predatory foraging wasps (Hymenoptera : Vespidae). Ann Entomol Soc Am 91:228–234Google Scholar
  23. Hendrichs J, Katsoyannos BI, Papaj DR, Prokopy RJ (1991) Sex-differences in movement between natural feeding and mating sites and tradeoffs between food consumption, mating success and predator evasion in Mediterranean fruit flies (Diptera, Tephritidae). Oecologia 86:223–231Google Scholar
  24. Hendrichs J, Katsoyannos BI, Wornoayporn V, Hendrichs MA (1994) Odor mediated foraging by yellowjacket wasps (Hymenoptera, Vespidae): predation on leks of pheromone calling Mediterranean fruit fly males (Diptera, Tephritidae). Oecologia 99:88–94Google Scholar
  25. Jennions MD, Moller AP, Petrie M (2001) Sexually selected traits and adult survival: a meta-analysis. Q Rev Biol 76:3–36PubMedGoogle Scholar
  26. Kirkwood TBL, Austad SN (2000) Why do we age? Nature 408:233–238PubMedGoogle Scholar
  27. Klein JP, Moeschberger ML (1997) Survival analysis. Springer, New York Berlin HeidelbergGoogle Scholar
  28. Kokko H, Brooks R, McNamara JM, Houston AI (2002) The sexual selection continuum. Proc R Soc Lond B 269:1331–1340CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Kotiaho JS, Alatalo RV, Mappes J, Parri S (1999) Sexual signalling and viability in a wolf spider (Hygrolycosa rubrofasciata): measurements under laboratory and field conditions. Behav Ecol Sociobiol 46:123–128CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Markowska AL, Breckler SJ (1999) Behavioral biomarkers of aging: illustration of a multivariate approach for detecting age-related behavioral changes. J Gerontol Biol Sci 12:B549–B566Google Scholar
  31. Neter J, Kutneer MH, Nachtsheim CJ, Wasserman W (1996) Applied linear statistical models, 4th edn. McGraw Hill, Boston, Mass.Google Scholar
  32. Papadopoulos NT, Katsoyannos BI, Kouloussis NA, Economopoulos AP, Carrey JR (1998) Effect of adult age, food, and time of day on sexual calling incidence of wild and mass-reared Ceratitis capitata males. Entomol Exper Appl 89:175–182CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Papadopoulos NT, Carey JR, Katsoyannos BI, Kouloussis NA, Muller HJ, Liu X (2002) Supine behaviour predicts time-to-death in male Mediterranean fruit flies. Proc R Soc Lond B 269:1633–1637CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  34. Partridge L (2001) Evolutionary theories of ageing applied to long-lived organisms. Exper Gerontol 36:641–650CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Partridge L, Farquhar M (1983) Lifetime mating success of male fruitflies (Drosophila melanogaster) is related to their size. Anim Behav 31:871–877Google Scholar
  36. Partridge L, Halliday T (1984) Mating patterns and mate choice. In: Krebs JR, Davies NB (eds) Behavioural ecology an evolutionary approach, 2nd edn. Sinauer, Sunderland, Mass.Google Scholar
  37. Prokopy RJ, Hendrichs J (1979) Mating behavior of Ceratitis capitata (Diptera, Tephritidae) on a field caged host tree. Ann Entomol Soc Am 72:642–648Google Scholar
  38. Roitberg BD, Sircom J, van Alphen JJM, Mangel M (1993) Life expectancy and reproduction. Nature 364:108CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  39. Rowe L, Houle D (1996) The lek paradox and the capture of genetic variance by condition dependent traits. Proc R Soc Lond B 263:1415–1421Google Scholar
  40. Shelly TE (2000) Male signalling and lek attractiveness in the Mediterranean fruit fly. Anim Behav 60:245–251CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  41. Sivinski J, Aluja M, Dodson GN, Freidberg AD, Headrick H, Landolt P (2000) Topics in the evolution of sexual behavior in the Tephritidae. In: Aluja M, Norrbom A (eds) Fruit flies (Tephritidae): phylogeny and evolution of behavior. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla, pp 751–792Google Scholar
  42. Sokal RR, Rohlf EJ (1995) Biometry, 3rd edn. Freedman, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  43. Stoks R (2000) Components of lifetime mating success and body size in males of a scrambling damselfly. Anim Behav 59:339–348PubMedGoogle Scholar
  44. Suzuki N, Matsumoto K (1992) Lifetime mating success of males in a natural population of the papilionid butterfly, Atrophaneura alcinous (Lepidoptera: Papilionidae). Res Popul Ecol 34:397–407Google Scholar
  45. Warburg MS, Yuval B (1997) Effects of energetic reserves on behavioral patterns of Mediterranean fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae). Oecologia 112:314–319CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Whittier TS, Kaneshiro KY (1995) Intersexual selection in the Mediterranean fruit fly: Does female choice enhance fitness. Evolution 49:990–996Google Scholar
  47. Whittier TS, Kaneshiro KY, Prescott LD (1992) Mating behavior of Mediterranean fruit flies (Diptera: Tephritidae) in a natural environment. Ann Entomol Soc Am 85:214–218Google Scholar
  48. Whittier TS, Nam FY, Shelly TE, Kaneshiro KY (1994a) Male courtship success and female discrimination in the Mediterranean fruit fly (Diptera, Tephritidae). J Insect Behav 7:159–170Google Scholar
  49. Whittier TS, Nam FY, Shelly TE, Kaneshiro KY (1994b) Male courtship success and female discrimination in the Mediterranean fruit fly (Diptera: Tephritidae). J Insect Behav 7:159–170Google Scholar
  50. Yuval B, Hendrichs J (2000) Behavior of flies in the genus Ceratitis (Dacinae: Ceratitidini). In: Aluja M, Norrbom A (eds) Fruit flies (Tephritidae): phylogeny and evolution of behavior. CRC Press, Boca Raton, Fla, pp 429–457Google Scholar
  51. Yuval B, Kaspi R, Shloush S, Warburg MS (1998) Nutritional reserves regulate male participation in Mediterranean fruit fly leks. Ecol Entomol 23:211–215CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Zahavi A (1975) Mate selection: selection for a handicap. J Theor Biol 23:205–214Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nikos T. Papadopoulos
    • 1
    • 2
  • Byron I. Katsoyannos
    • 1
  • Nikos A. Kouloussis
    • 1
  • James R. Carey
    • 2
    • 3
  • Hans-Georg Müller
    • 4
  • Ying Zhang
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Agriculture, Laboratory of Applied Zoology and ParasitologyAristotle University of Thessaloniki540 06 ThessalonikiGreece
  2. 2.Department of EntomologyUniversity of CaliforniaDavis 95616USA
  3. 3.Centre for the Economics and Demography of AgingUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeley 94720USA
  4. 4.Department of StatisticsUniversity of CaliforniaDavis 95616USA

Personalised recommendations