Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Consequences of a lifetime of sexual competition revealed

Date:
May 1, 2013
Source:
University of East Anglia
Summary:
Males that spend all their time reacting to their rivals die earlier and are less able to mate later in life according to new research. It reveals how fruit flies that are subjected to continual competition from mating rivals, mate for longer and produce more offspring in early life. But they pay a high price – a shorter lifespan and reduced mating ability later in life.

Males that spend all their time reacting to their rivals die earlier and are less able to mate later in life according to new research from the University of East Anglia (UEA).

Related Articles


Research published today in the journal Evolution reveals how fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) that are subjected to continual competition from mating rivals, mate for longer and produce more offspring in early life.

But they pay a high price -- a shorter lifespan and reduced mating ability later in life.

It is the first study to quantify the consequences of lifetime exposure to rivals. Researchers say that 'trade-offs' between reproduction and lifespan are common across the whole animal kingdom, so in principle the findings could be applicable more generally.

The study was led by Prof Tracey Chapman from UEA's School of Biological Sciences and Dr Amanda Bretman, now at the University of Leeds.

Prof Chapman said: "We exposed males to rivals throughout their lifetimes and found that while this caused them to mate for longer and have a higher reproductive output -- these benefits disappeared early, after the third mating.

"The males took significantly fewer mating opportunities in later life and had significantly shorter lifespans than flies which had not been exposed to rivals. Meanwhile those which had been kept on their own continued to mate into old age, accumulating more matings overall.

"In general, trade-offs between different aspects of reproduction and lifespan are very common and can be found in almost every organism in which we can measure them -- including humans," she added. "We don't know whether this specific set of circumstances occurs in humans, but trade-offs in general certainly do. It could be something that researchers studying human life histories could look for."

Researchers compared flies that had been exposed to rivals with those which had not. They gave both sets of flies the opportunity to mate regularly throughout their lives.

They recorded the length and frequency of mating for both groups, as well as the number of offspring sired by both groups.

At the end of the 78-day project, all of the male flies which had been exposed to rivals had been dead for at least four days. But more than a quarter of those which had not been exposed to rivals were still alive.

"If males die sooner in the wild, the early mating benefits seen in males exposed to competition may be more important than the benefits of living and mating for longer," added Dr Bretman. "There is a great scope for further investigations into how relevant our experiment might be in representing the natural lifespan and potential trade-offs between early and late survival and reproduction."

The research was funded by the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council (BBSRC).


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. Amanda Bretman, James D. Westmancoat, Matthew J.G. Gage, Tracey Chapman. COSTS AND BENEFITS OF LIFETIME EXPOSURE TO MATING RIVALS IN MALEDROSOPHILA MELANOGASTER. Evolution, 2013; DOI: 10.1111/evo.12125

Cite This Page:

University of East Anglia. "Consequences of a lifetime of sexual competition revealed." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 1 May 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130501090717.htm>.
University of East Anglia. (2013, May 1). Consequences of a lifetime of sexual competition revealed. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 18, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130501090717.htm
University of East Anglia. "Consequences of a lifetime of sexual competition revealed." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/05/130501090717.htm (accessed December 18, 2014).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

When You Lose Weight, This Is Where The Fat Goes

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) Can fat disappear into thin air? New research finds that during weight loss, over 80 percent of a person's fat molecules escape through the lungs. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

The Hottest Food Trends for 2015

Buzz60 (Dec. 17, 2014) Urbanspoon predicts whicg food trends will dominate the culinary scene in 2015. Mara Montalbano (@maramontalbano) has the story. Video provided by Buzz60
Powered by NewsLook.com
Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Rover Finds More Clues About Possible Life On Mars

Newsy (Dec. 17, 2014) NASA's Curiosity rover detected methane on Mars and organic compounds on the surface, but it doesn't quite prove there was life ... yet. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Ivory Trade Boom Swamps Law Efforts

Ivory Trade Boom Swamps Law Efforts

Reuters - Business Video Online (Dec. 17, 2014) Demand for ivory has claimed the lives of tens of thousands of African elephants and now a conservation report says the illegal trade is overwhelming efforts to enforce the law. Amy Pollock reports. Video provided by Reuters
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