Behaviour 2019
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Changes to a novel courtship song and courtship success under starvation stress
Connor J Bryant, Jennifer M Gleason. University of Kansas, Lawrence, Kansas, United States

Production of courtship signals that reflect an individual’s quality are costly and may trade off with survivorship. Food stress, therefore, should affect an individual’s ability to perform courtship signals. In the absence of quality signals, the reproductive success of the individual should fall. Drosophila sturtevanti males have a complex courtship song with pulses typical of Drosophila species as well as a tonal “beep” that is unique to the species. Previous work in the lab has determined that beeps are necessary, but not sufficient, for male mating success. To investigate the production of beeps further, we challenged males with starvation and measured the effect on song production. We hypothesized that mating success is reduced for starved males. We found that starved males were as successful in copulating as males that were not. Song characteristics differed between males who were successful and unsuccessful in mating. In addition, we tested the effect of courtship on starvation resistance; males that courted had lower starvation resistance than males that did not court. Overall, a complex relationship exists between food stress, courtship success, and survivorship.