Meeting Abstract

57.3  Sunday, Jan. 5 14:00  Sexual experience enhances mating behavior and success of male Drosophila melanogaster SALEEM, S*; CARNEY, G.E.; Texas A&M University

Competition for mates is a wide-spread phenomenon affecting individual reproductive success. The ability of animals to adjust their behaviors in response to changing social environment is important and well documented. Drosophila melanogaster males compete with one another for matings with females and modify their reproductive behaviors based on prior social interactions. However, it remains to be determined how male social experience that culminates in mating with a female impacts subsequent male reproductive behaviors and mating success. Here we show that sexual experience enhances future mating success. Previously mated D. melanogaster males adjust their component courtship behaviors and are able to out-compete sexually inexperienced males for copulations, when placed in the same mating arena. Interestingly, courtship experience alone was not sufficient in providing this competitive advantage, indicating that copulation plays a role in reinforcing this social learning. We also show that females use their sense of hearing to preferentially mate with experienced males when given a choice. Our results demonstrate the ability of previously mated males to learn from their positive sexual experiences and adjust their behaviors to gain a mating advantage. These experienced-based changes in behavior reveal strategies that animals likely use to increase their fecundity in natural competitive environments.