Minority mating advantage of certain eye color mutants of Drosophila melanogaster. I. Multiple-choice and single-female tests

Spiess, E.B.; Schwer, W.A.

Behavior Genetics 8(2): 155-168


ISSN/ISBN: 0001-8244
PMID: 99137
DOI: 10.1007/bf01066872
Accession: 068520694

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Alleles at the brown locus of D. melanogaster combined with homozygous scarlet provide a useful model to demonstrate minority advantage of males in mating. Heterozygotes with orange (O) eyes equal in numbers of homozygotes with red (R) eyes (10:10 in both sexes) displayed no bias favoring either eye color, but each eye color was favored when males occurred in a minority ratio (2:18). In direct observation of single females with equal numbers of males (3:3) as controls, O males courted less and more slowly than R males, but females mated with either type without bias. When unequal (4:1), the minority males were successful at more than twice the frequency expected. Whether successful or not, the minority males did not change their level of courtship, and cannot be said to compensate for their frequency in any way. The time between 1st courtship and mating was less for the minority males than for the majority males. The hypothesis that the minority male will be accepted immediately or ahead of a majority male is discarded, because the opposite tended to occur: if a minority male courted first he was less likely to be successful than if he waited until the majority courted. The results are in conformity with the hypothesis that a female samples males and their courtship cues, and probably becomes habituated to the majority via the 1st courting male, but accepts a male with a cue different from that which she originally detected but avoided. That male is most often the minority.