Influence of group rearing on sexual behavior of Drosophila melanogaster males
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Social interactions are able to strongly influence animal physiology and behavior. As is known, social experience can lead to changes in sexual and aggressive behavior, circadian rhythms and composition of cuticular hydrocarbons in Drosophila. Previously, we have shown that housing Drosophila males in monosexual groups of 20 individuals for 3 days after eclosion leads to a strong and long-term suppression of locomotor activity as revealed at individual testing, in contrast to males kept separately. The present research addressed courtship behavior, and specifically song production, in Drosophila males reared under similar conditions. It was found that rearing males in monosexual groups leads to a suppression of courtship and song production as well as to a simultaneous increase in locomotor activity when tested with a moving female. The latter effect was due to the strong urge of males to avoid interindividual contacts that prevented triggering the courtship ritual. It was suggested that intermale aggression caused by group rearing generates a state similar to conditioned fear.
Key wordsDrosophila social experience group keeping sexual behavior song production
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