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Males do not prolong copulation in response to competitor males in the polyandrous fly Drosophila bifasciata

Abstract : Males in many taxa exhibit behavioural plasticity in response to the perceived threat of sperm competition. Drosophila males prolong mating in response to the presence of competitor males before copulation. The benefits of this behaviour to males are evident in Drosophila melanogaster. However, the adaptive nature of the trait is challenged by the observation that it is present in four other Drosophila species, two of which are largely monandrous, raising the possibility that this plasticity is not evolutionarily labile. In the present study, behavioural plasticity and the mating system in Drosophila bifasciata Pominini (Diptera, Drosophilidae) are analyzed. By contrast to other Drosophila species, male D. bifasciata do not exhibit plasticity in copulation duration when competitor males are present before mating. Thus, plasticity in mating duration is not fixed in the genus Drosophila. The mating system of D. bifasciata is also examined. The species is polyandrous but, uncommonly for the genus Drosophila, males transfer a mating plug composed of sperm to females, which forms very shortly after copulation and fills the female uterus. The absence of plasticity observed in D. bifasciata may arise from the sperm plug.
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Anne Lizé, Thomas A. R. Price, Marco Marcello, Eve A. Smaller, Zenobia Lewis, et al.. Males do not prolong copulation in response to competitor males in the polyandrous fly Drosophila bifasciata. Physiological Entomology, Wiley, 2012, 37 (3), pp.227-232. ⟨10.1111/j.1365-3032.2012.00836.x⟩. ⟨hal-01399745⟩



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