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Male Flies Are Better at Mating After Fighting Off Robotic Rival

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A Mediterranean fruit fly (bottom) meeting a robot-controlled, 3D-printed replica.

Males that interacted with the fake fly were then used in a courtship and mating experiment. These flies performed significantly longer courtship behaviors and were more successful in mating with females than males that had no contact with the dummy fly.

Credit: Donato Romano

]Scientists at Italy's Sant'Anna School of Advanced Studies (SSSA) and University of Pisa found laboratory-reared male fruit flies appear to become more adept at mating after engaging with robotic replicas of rival males.

The researchers introduced three-dimensionally (3D)-printed magnetic replicas of male Mediterranean fruit flies to real flies in an arena.

Moving the replicas using a robotic system underneath the arena toward discs made from citrus leaves where the flies had established dominion provoked territorial behavior.

Males that engaged with the replicas courted longer and had more success in mating in a subsequent experiment.

SSSA's Donato Romano suggested this strategy could improve the success of sterilization programs to contain destructive insect populations by increasing lab-reared males' competitiveness.

From New Scientist
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Abstracts Copyright © 2023 SmithBucklin, Washington, D.C., USA


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