Alexis Billings, Katherine Schultz, Eddy Hernandez, W. Elizabeth Jones, and Donald Price (all Life Sciences) had a paper, "Male Courtship Behaviors and Female Choice Reduced during Experimental Starvation Stress," published in Behavioral Ecology this month. The paper stems from work done in Price's laboratory.
Billings, a postdoctoral researcher, is the lead author. Schultz and Jones, both are Ph.D. students, while Hernandez is an undergraduate. Price is the principal investigator. The paper follows up on previous work conducted with long-term starvation selection Drosophila melanogaster, which showed numerous physiological trade-offs with increased starvation resistance, from Allen Gibb’s lab also in the School of Life Sciences. This new study explored how some of these physiological trade-offs may influence important behaviors such as courtship in males and mate choice in females. Both males and females selected for starvation resistance showed changes in behavior: males spent less time wing waving, which is an important courtship behavior that produces a song for the female, and females selected for starvation resistance evolved reduced mate discrimination, mating equally with control and starvation-selected males. These results suggest that although the selected flies can survive longer without food, this comes at a cost to mating behavior in both males and females.