No evidence for learned mating discrimination in male Drosophila pseudoobscura.
BACKGROUND:Since females often pay a higher cost for heterospecific matings, mate discrimination and species recognition are driven primarily by female choice. In contrast, frequent indiscriminate matings are hypothesized to maximize male fitness. However, recent studies show that previously indiscriminate males (e.g., Drosophila melanogaster and Poecilia reticulata) can learn to avoid heterospecific courtship. This ability of males to discriminate against heterospecific courtship may be advantageous in populations where two species co-occur if courtship or mating is costly. RESULTS:Here, we tested whether Drosophila pseudoobscura males learn to discriminate against heterospecific females after being exposed to and rejected by D. persimilis females. In most of our assays, we failed to observe differences in D. pseudoobscura courtship intensity of heterospecific females by males that had previously courted heterospecific females vs. males that had been maintained in isolation. CONCLUSION:We conclude that learning to avoid heterospecific courtship may not be universal, even within the genus Drosophila, and may possibly be dependent on the natural history of the species.
Kandul, NP; Wright, KM; Kandul, EV; Noor, MAF
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