minority mating advantage
male courtship cues
habituation by female
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract Alleles at the brown locus ofDrosophila 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 to 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 thanR 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 thus cannot be said to compensate for their frequency in any way. The time between first courtship and mating was less for the minority males than for the majority males. We discard the hypothesis that the minority male will be accepted immediately or ahead of a majority male, because the opposite tended to occur: that if a minority male courted first he was less likely to be successful than if he waited until the majority courted. Our results then are in conformity with the hypothesis that a female samples males and their courtship cues, thus becoming habituated to the majority of the first courting male, but she accepts a male with a cue different from that which she originally detected but avoided. That male is most often the minority.
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