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Results, published in Nature Communications, have shown that the nature of the evolutionary forces which act on male fruit flies depend on how many mates a females has.
Over the last 50 years biologists have realised that females in most animal species mate with multiple males in their lifetimes, in contrast to Darwin's Victorian ideas of the monogamous female.
Promiscuity - Selection - Females - Male - Selection
However, it has previously been hard to work out how female promiscuity affects sexual selection: when females mate with more than one male, sexual selection can continue after mating because the sperm of rival males compete for eggs. But if females mate indiscriminately, do male adaptations for enticing choosy females become redundant?
The results of this study show that, in fact, indeed both of these changes occur. When female flies were genetically changed to become more promiscuous, sexual selection simply switched from favouring males who gain more mates (good at enticing) to favouring males who are better at post-mating competition (good at fertilizing). In particular, males were favoured who were good at mating multiple times with the same female.
Dr - Stuart - Wigby - University - Oxford
Dr. Stuart Wigby from the University of Oxford, whose lab hosted the research, said: 'This work gives us new insights into the broad evolutionary principles that explain why males vary so much...
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