Drosophila melanogaster males engage in several courtship behaviors including tapping, licking, orientating, straddling, and courtship song to get the females to mate (Burnet & Connolly 1974).  Study of laboratory stocks of Drosophila melanogaster have provided us with numerous examples of how easy it is to disrupt courtship.    Interestingly, these same stocks have also provided us with insight into how courtship systems can respond to change.  For example, Bastock (1956) found that in the yellow stock a male deficiency in coutship ability was balanced  by an increase in female receptivity.  Similarly, in the raised stock, this mutation that inhibits the ability of males to produce a courtship song has been shown to have females that are also more receptive to courtship ( McRobert et al. 1994) .  While these and similar studies have shown the plasticity of mating systems to disruptions they have been limited by a number of factors.  While it is clear that disruptions to a mating system are often compensated within a stock it is not clear if these changes are due to pleiotropic effects or due to selection.  In addition, it is often difficult to tell if it is the male or the female behavior that is being altered.  For example higher rate of mating associated with a particular strain of female could be due to lower thresholds of female receptivity or it could be due to increased male courtship towards that strain of female.  I am interested in determining how important selection is in reestablishing courtship balance in fruit fly lines disrupted by mutation.

Male fruit fly on left singing to female on right using leg and wing to make mating sounds.

The view a researcher sees when observing mating behavior between an apterous mutated fly and a normal wild type fly.

Top and side view of a fruit fly with a wing mutation called scalloped.
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