Mate choice intensifies motor signalling in Drosophila

Allan Debelle, Alexandre Courtiol, Michael G. Ritchie, Rhonda R. Snook

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Mate choice has the potential to act on the evolution of motor performance via its direct influence on motor sexual signals. However, studies demonstrating this are rare. Here, we performed an in-depth analysis of Drosophila pseudoobscura courtship song rate, a motor signal under mate choice in this species, and analysed the response of this signal to sexual selection manipulation using experimental evolution. We show that manipulating the opportunity for sexual selection led to changes in song production rate and singing endurance, with males from the polyandrous populations producing faster song rates over longer time periods than males from monogamous populations. We also show that song rate was correlated with estimates of overall courtship vigour. Our results suggest that the action of mate choice on a motor signal has affected male motor performance displayed during courtship. We consider potential selective benefits associated with changes in motor performance, including condition-dependent signalling, and discuss the implications of these results for the study of motor signals under sexual selection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-187
Number of pages19
JournalAnimal Behaviour
Early online date14 Oct 2017
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017


  • Courtship song
  • Drosophila pseudoobscura
  • Experimental evolution
  • Interpulse interval
  • Mate choice
  • Motor performance
  • Sexual selection


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