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Assessment of Rival Males through the Use of Multiple Sensory Cues in the Fruitfly Drosophila pseudoobscura

Abstract : Environments vary stochastically, and animals need to behave in ways that best fit the conditions in which they find themselves. The social environment is particularly variable, and responding appropriately to it can be vital for an animal's success. However, cues of social environment are not always reliable, and animals may need to balance accuracy against the risk of failing to respond if local conditions or interfering signals prevent them detecting a cue. Recent work has shown that many male Drosophila fruit flies respond to the presence of rival males, and that these responses increase their success in acquiring mates and fa-thering offspring. In Drosophila melanogaster males detect rivals using auditory, tactile and olfactory cues. However, males fail to respond to rivals if any two of these senses are not functioning: a single cue is not enough to produce a response. Here we examined cue use in the detection of rival males in a distantly related Drosophila species, D. pseudoobscura, where auditory, olfactory, tactile and visual cues were manipulated to assess the importance of each sensory cue singly and in combination. In contrast to D. melanogaster, male D. pseudoobscura require intact olfactory and tactile cues to respond to rivals. Visual cues were not important for detecting rival D. pseudoobscura, while results on auditory cues appeared puzzling. This difference in cue use in two species in the same genus suggests that cue use is evolutionarily labile, and may evolve in response to ecological or life history differences between species.
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Chris P. Maguire, Anne Lizé, Tom A. R. Price. Assessment of Rival Males through the Use of Multiple Sensory Cues in the Fruitfly Drosophila pseudoobscura. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2015, 10 (4), pp.e123058. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0123058.t002⟩. ⟨hal-01142677⟩

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