It's "Business Time" for these flies

Copulation and courtship in the small world of a vial of Drosophila.

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Here is a brief, candid video of a female fruit fly (Drosophila melanogaster) copulating with a male even as she is courted by two other males. Note the duration of the copulation--it can last 15 minutes, a stark difference from my previous experience with lightning-fast avian copulations! The courtship behaviors of the male fruit flies include approaching and licking the female, shaking wings, and vibrating one wing held perpendicularly to the body (watch closely for it). This latter behavior is the source of the fruit fly male's "song," a mechanical sound used in species recognition and mate choice. Here, the female is of a white-eyed strain, while the males have wild-type red eyes.

This is the first of many copulations in an experimental cross necessary for my future projects in the Dowling Lab.

Rebecca Koch

Postdoctoral Research Fellow, Monash University

I am currently studying Drosophila evolutionary genetics and behavior in the Dowling Lab at Monash University (Melbourne, VIC, Australia), though my background is in avian behavioral ecology. I performed my doctoral research in the Hill Lab at Auburn University (Auburn, AL, USA). Hello from Australia!