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The basis for control of post-mating sexual attractiveness by Drosophila melanogaster females



The basis for control of post-mating sexual attractiveness by Drosophila melanogaster females



Animal behaviour 40(5): 891-900



Drosophila melanogaster males court mated females significantly less actively than they court virgins. Courtship-inhibiting chemicals (anti-aphrodisiacs) released by mated females when males are present could play a role in controlling the sexual attractiveness of mated females. To test this hypothesis, the attractiveness of intact mated females, which are able to release aversive chemical signals, was compared to that of decapitated mated females, which do not release the signals. By 24 h after mating, reduced female sexual attractiveness was due almost entirely to anti-aphrodisiacs released when males were present. Anti-aphrodisiacs vary between strains, and have been identified as hydrocarbons found primarily on the cuticle of mature males. The quantity of these hydrocarbons on mated females increases when males are present, but the increase is not due to transfer from the males. When males with radiolabelled cuticular hydrocarbons were paired with mated females, no transfer of label could be detected. Interstrain comparisons showed that males from one strain do not necessarily respond to the anti-aphrodisiac of another, and that male cuticular hydrocarbons may provide a chemical stimulus that induces release of anti-aphrodisiac by mated females.

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Accession: 002243359

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DOI: 10.1016/s0003-3472(05)80991-1


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