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The Structure of Courtship in the Drosophila Melanogaster Species Sub-Group

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[A quantitative comparison and sequence analysis of courtship behaviour of four-day old virgin flies from seven species of the Drosophila melanogaster species subgroup is described. In three species (D. melanogaster, D. simulans and D. mauritiana) courtship was observed until copulation. In four species (D. yakuba, D. teissieri, D. erecta and D. orena) courtships were truncated after a standard period. Wing rowing by the male was seen in four species (simulans, mauritiana, yakuba and teissierz). In both mauritiana and simulans the proportion of time spent in rowing tended to increase as courtship proceeded. The four species showing the greatest proportion of wing vibration in courtship (melanogaster, yakuba, erecta and orena) also showed an increase in the proportion of time spent vibrating as courtship proceeded. The amount of wing vibration and wing extension in yakuba is greater than in any other species in the subgroup. The proportion of time spent in wing extension in yakuba declined whilst vibration increased during courtship. In six species the proportion of courtship time spent licking increased during courtship. The mean lick duration was longer in yakuba than in any other species of the subgroup. When males were following actively moving females the time they spent performing courtship behaviours and the mean bout lengths were shorter than in courtship as a whole. D. simulans males expressed scissoring at a low level when courting moving females. Females of all species preened more than the males, but preening during courtship appeared to have no excitatory or inhibitory effect on the male. The behavioural sequence characteristic of the species subgroup is orientation→wing display→licking→ copulation. In five species wing vibration was the only element of wing display immediately to precede licking, but in simulans licking could also be preceded by scissoring and in yakuba by wing extension. The transition vibration→licking appears to be a characteristic of the subgroup., A quantitative comparison and sequence analysis of courtship behaviour of four-day old virgin flies from seven species of the Drosophila melanogaster species subgroup is described. In three species (D. melanogaster, D. simulans and D. mauritiana) courtship was observed until copulation. In four species (D. yakuba, D. teissieri, D. erecta and D. orena) courtships were truncated after a standard period. Wing rowing by the male was seen in four species (simulans, mauritiana, yakuba and teissierz). In both mauritiana and simulans the proportion of time spent in rowing tended to increase as courtship proceeded. The four species showing the greatest proportion of wing vibration in courtship (melanogaster, yakuba, erecta and orena) also showed an increase in the proportion of time spent vibrating as courtship proceeded. The amount of wing vibration and wing extension in yakuba is greater than in any other species in the subgroup. The proportion of time spent in wing extension in yakuba declined whilst vibration increased during courtship. In six species the proportion of courtship time spent licking increased during courtship. The mean lick duration was longer in yakuba than in any other species of the subgroup. When males were following actively moving females the time they spent performing courtship behaviours and the mean bout lengths were shorter than in courtship as a whole. D. simulans males expressed scissoring at a low level when courting moving females. Females of all species preened more than the males, but preening during courtship appeared to have no excitatory or inhibitory effect on the male. The behavioural sequence characteristic of the species subgroup is orientation→wing display→licking→ copulation. In five species wing vibration was the only element of wing display immediately to precede licking, but in simulans licking could also be preceded by scissoring and in yakuba by wing extension. The transition vibration→licking appears to be a characteristic of the subgroup.]

Affiliations: 1: Departments of Psychology and Genetics, University of Sheffield, Sheffield, England

10.1163/156853986X00379
/content/journals/10.1163/156853986x00379
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/content/journals/10.1163/156853986x00379
1986-01-01
2016-09-26

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