Size matters for European dung flies when it comes to mating

   Apr 14, 12:17 pm

Washington, April 14 (ANI): European and North American black scavenger flies - also called dung flies as their larvae develop in the faeces of vertebrates and thus break them down - belong to the same species, but they strongly differ in mating behaviour and SSD.

North American dung fly females are larger than males, the usual dimorphism in insects.

European dung flies, however, are more unusual with males being considerably larger than females.

In evolutionary biology, sexual selection for large males can be explained if they can reproduce more successfully than smaller ones, either because females prefer larger males or because the latter prevail more often in the competition for mates with other males.

Evolutionary ecologists from the University of Zurich showed that female preference for large males is far greater in European fly populations than in their North American counterparts, which explains the different SSD.

North American dung fly males woo the females with a courtship dance.

Project leader Wolf Blanckenhorn does not rule out the possibility that North American males also deploy pheromone-like scents during courtship.

This courtship dance is entirely absent in the European flies: males mount the females relatively randomly, cling onto them with varying degrees of success and try to mate with them, even though they are often shaken off again by the females before copulation.

European and North American dung flies also differ in their mating frequency. During their roughly 40-day adult life, European dung flies mate often, their North American counterparts only once or twice.

"Frequent copulation requires more sperm from the males and therefore larger testes," explained Blanckenhorn.

This could well be a contributory factor in the European females' greater preference for large males. However, the connection between the continental differences in SSD and mating behaviours is still unclear. (ANI)

Earth's 6th mass extinction begins Jul 25, 3:10 pm
Washington, July 25 (ANI): A study has revealed the early stages of Earth's 6th mass extinction event, for which human activities are being held responsible.
Full Story
Invertebrate numbers slashed by 45 pc on average over 3 decades Jul 25, 1:45 pm
Washington, July 25 (ANI): A new study has revealed that invertebrate numbers have decreased by 45 percent on average over a 35 year period in which the human population doubled.
Full Story
Merely 8.2 percent of DNA 'functional' in human beings Jul 25, 11:56 am
Washington, July 25 (ANI): A new study claims that only 8.2 percent of our DNA actually does some significant work.
Full Story
How science can make you better guitar player revealed Jul 24, 4:51 pm
Washington, July 24 (ANI): A study has revealed the physics underlying the differences in the lead guitar playing techniques like string bends, tapping, vibrato and whammy.
Full Story
Comments

LATEST STORIES
TOP VIDEO STORIES
PHOTO GALLERY