Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Contact with 'rivals' changes male behavior

Date:
March 21, 2012
Source:
University of East Anglia
Summary:
Males consistently change their mating behavior depending on whether they have spent time with other males before mating, according to new findings.

A male fruit fly 'sings' to a female by vibrating his wing at her.
Credit: Image courtesy of University of East Anglia

Males consistently change their mating behaviour depending on whether they have spent time with other males before mating, according to new findings by scientists at the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Related Articles


Publishing recently in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the researchers 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."

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.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of East Anglia. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. A Bretman, J Westmancoat, M Gage and T Chapman. Individual plastic responses by males to rivals reveal mismatches between behaviour and fitness outcomes. Proceedings of the Royal Society B, 2012 DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2012.0235

Cite This Page:

University of East Anglia. "Contact with 'rivals' changes male behavior." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 March 2012. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120321094131.htm>.
University of East Anglia. (2012, March 21). Contact with 'rivals' changes male behavior. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 24, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120321094131.htm
University of East Anglia. "Contact with 'rivals' changes male behavior." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/03/120321094131.htm (accessed October 24, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, October 24, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Deep Sea 'mushroom' Could Be Early Branch on Tree of Life

Reuters - Innovations Video Online (Oct. 24, 2014) Miniature deep sea animals discovered off the Australian coast almost three decades ago are puzzling scientists, who say the organisms have proved impossible to categorise. Academics at the Natural History of Denmark have appealed to the world scientific community for help, saying that further information on Dendrogramma enigmatica and Dendrogramma discoides could answer key evolutionary questions. Jim Drury has more. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Black Bear Cub Goes Sunday Shopping

Reuters - Light News Video Online (Oct. 23, 2014) Price check on honey? Bear cub startles Oregon drugstore shoppers. Rough Cut (no reporter narration). Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

Dances With Wolves in China's Wild West

AFP (Oct. 23, 2014) One man is on a mission to boost the population of wolves in China's violence-wracked far west. The animal - symbol of the Uighur minority there - is under threat with a massive human resettlement program in the region. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Breakfast Debate: To Eat Or Not To Eat?

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) Conflicting studies published in the same week re-ignited the debate over whether we should be eating breakfast. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins