Review

Behavioral genetics of Drosophila ananassae

Published: December 30, 2003
Genet. Mol. Res. 2 (4) : 394-409

Abstract

Drosophila ananassae has a unique status among Drosophila species because of certain peculiarities in its genetic behavior. The most unusual feature of this species is its relatively high frequency of spontaneous male recombination. The results of studies on non-sexual behavior, such as phototactic responses, eclosion rhythm, and preferences for oviposition and pupation sites, lead us to suggest that this behavior is under polygenic control, with a substantial amount of additive genetic variation. Sexual isolation has been reported in D. ananassae with the degree of such isolation being stronger in isofemale lines than in natural populations. The significant variations seen in the mating propensity of several isofemale strains, inversion karyotypes and wild type strains, the diminishing effects of certain mutations on the sexual activity of males, and the positive responses to selection for high and low mating propensity point to a genetic control of sexual behavior in D. ananassae. Males contribute more to variation and thus are more subject to intrasexual selection than females. There is a positive correlation between sternopleural bristle number, mating propensity and fertility in D. ananassae. This correlation between morphometric traits and mating success suggests that larger flies are more successful in mating than smaller ones. There is also evidence for adaptive plasticity and a trade-off between longevity and productivity in D. ananassae. Rare, specific courtship song parameters that provide males with a mating advantage have also been reported in different geographic strains of D. ananassae. The remating behavior of males and females, sperm displacement, and the bi-directional selection for female remating speed indicate that post-mating behavior in this species may also be under genetic control. The occurrence of size assortative mating further indicates that there is size-dependent sexual selection in D. ananassae.

Drosophila ananassae has a unique status among Drosophila species because of certain peculiarities in its genetic behavior. The most unusual feature of this species is its relatively high frequency of spontaneous male recombination. The results of studies on non-sexual behavior, such as phototactic responses, eclosion rhythm, and preferences for oviposition and pupation sites, lead us to suggest that this behavior is under polygenic control, with a substantial amount of additive genetic variation. Sexual isolation has been reported in D. ananassae with the degree of such isolation being stronger in isofemale lines than in natural populations. The significant variations seen in the mating propensity of several isofemale strains, inversion karyotypes and wild type strains, the diminishing effects of certain mutations on the sexual activity of males, and the positive responses to selection for high and low mating propensity point to a genetic control of sexual behavior in D. ananassae. Males contribute more to variation and thus are more subject to intrasexual selection than females. There is a positive correlation between sternopleural bristle number, mating propensity and fertility in D. ananassae. This correlation between morphometric traits and mating success suggests that larger flies are more successful in mating than smaller ones. There is also evidence for adaptive plasticity and a trade-off between longevity and productivity in D. ananassae. Rare, specific courtship song parameters that provide males with a mating advantage have also been reported in different geographic strains of D. ananassae. The remating behavior of males and females, sperm displacement, and the bi-directional selection for female remating speed indicate that post-mating behavior in this species may also be under genetic control. The occurrence of size assortative mating further indicates that there is size-dependent sexual selection in D. ananassae.

Download: