To realize their reproductive potential, male Mediterranean fruit flies must run a gauntlet of behavioral challenges during which they may be edged out by rivals, or fail the acid test of female choice. Milestones on this perilous road include: 1. showing up at a lek site, 2. emitting pheromone, 3. performing courtship, 4. Copulation, 5. sperm transfer and storage, 6.fertilization of eggs, 7. preventing or delaying female remating. In a number of recent studies focused on each of these steps we tested the hypothesis that post-teneral male nutrition affects male sexual performance. Both field and laboratory data indicate that protein nutrition increases a male's probability of emitting pheromone in a lek. Field cage data show that protein fed males are also more likely to engage in critical elements of close-range courtship, and evidence from several studies indicate that protein fed males are more likely to copulate than sugar-fed or starved flies. As to sperm transfer and storage, we find that the context of the experiment and the source of flies used affect the outcome, suggesting that diet alone cannot explain the variability in the probability of sperm being transferred, and in the amount of sperm transferred. To date we have not studied effects of male diet on fertilization. Nevertheless, we have shown that male diet significantly affects female receptivity: females whose first mate was protein-deprived, remate sooner than females whose first mate was protein-fed.
|Number of pages||6|
|Publication status||Published - Mar 2003|
- Reproductive success
- Sexual behavior