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Quantitative Aspects of Mating Behavior in Drosophila

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Individual Samarkand wildtype D. melanogaster males were permitted the choice between either two white-eyed or two red-eyed females or between a red-eyed and a white-eyed female. Observations of the flies were made over a period of about two hours and premating periods, intermating periods and the durations of copulations were recorded. Approximately 82% of the males copulated first with white-eyed females and the premating and intermating periods before copulations with white-eyed females were significantly shorter than before the copulations with red-eyed females. The red-eyed females tended to resist the courtship of the males while the white-eyed females were more passive. The type of the second female present had little influence on whether or not the males would copulate a second time. However the red-eyed females were stimulated to mate sooner than the white-eyed females when a previous copulation had occurred in the vials. With each type of female, the average durations of the second copulations were longer than the first. The durations of the second copulations were positively correlated with the durations of the first. The correlations were low but very significant.


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Affiliations: 1: (Lawrence Radiation Laboratory and Department of Zoology, University of California, Berkeley, California


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