Fruit fly research may reveal what happens in female brains during courtship and mating
The courtship song of fanning males in the fruit fly parasitoid Psyttalia concolor ( Szépligeti) Although we gathered no direct evidence of courtship chemicals or . A slow-motion video of a male and female fly courting, then copulating. This region of the brain links the nervous system to the endocrine, or. If, during the courtship, one or both parties realize that marriage is not God's will and they end the relationship, the courtship has not failed. On the contrary, the.
After that initial leg tap, the researchers explain, a flood of both excitatory—"Go for it! If the male's target is perceived as "low quality"—not sexually mature, too young, too old, or if his pheromone receptors detect a low level of sexual desire in her—the P1 center will receive more inhibitory signals than excitatory ones.
However, according to Rogulja, if the male fly's P1 neurons receive a lot of dopamine, they become less sensitive to the inhibitory signals, giving the male fly the go-ahead to court, sometimes even under circumstances that aren't ideal. After the initial decision to court, dopamine is also responsible for maintaining courtship behavior all the way until mating, she explains.
The neurobiology of fruit fly courtship helps illuminates human disorders of motivation
Flies with low levels of dopamine might make a half-hearted attempt at courting but quickly give up. However, those with high levels of dopamine were more likely to persistently pursue their love interests. They do so only 44 percent of the time. Similarly, males with low motivation because of recent mating or a less than ideal target still courted occasionally.
This binary decision to court or not court, he explained, has an element of chance like a coin toss, weighted by factors including the male's motivation and the sensory information he receives from the female. That element of chance is a key part of what makes the brain's motivation circuitry different from the circuitry responsible for processing sensory or motor signals.
You don't want things left up to chance. In this paper, a team led by Dr. Bruce Baker of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute's Janelia Farm Research Campus in Virginia also reports that these neurons are genetically distinct from the previously identified neurons that function to drive the elaborate courtship ritual with which a male woos a female.
In the Current Biology study, Dr.
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Leslie Vosshall of The Rockefeller University in New York City and her team found that a small group of neurons in the abdominal nerve cord and reproductive tract—called Abdominal-B neurons—is necessary for the female to pause her movement and interact with a courting male. When the neurons are inactivated, the female ignores the male and keeps moving, but when the neurons are activated, the female spontaneously pauses.
Jennifer Bussell, the lead author of the study. Tying a group of neurons to this particular response to males will allow us to dissect in detail how female mating circuitry functions.
Current Biology, Bussell et al. This includes following the female, tapping her with his forelegs, contacting her genitalia with his mouthparts, singing a species-specific courtship song, and bending his abdomen to copulate [ 3 ].
Fruit fly courtship: The female perspective | Current Zoology | Oxford Academic
A virgin female has the ability to be unreceptive to and resist the courtship of a Drosophila male by exhibiting rejection behaviors, which include extruding her ovipositor, kicking, or decamping [ 3—6 ]. If she decides to accept the male, she slows down, ceases rejection behaviors and opens her vaginal plate for copulation [ 3 ].
After successful copulation, mated females become temporarily sexually unreceptive to further copulatory attempts, increasing their rate of egg-laying [ 7 ]. Circuitry underlying courtship behavior Expression of fruitless and doublesex in sensory neurons, interneurons and motorneurons suggests that they are organized into circuit elements capable of receiving, processing and transferring information that controls sexual behavior.
Indeed impinging the activity of all, or some, of these neurons have profound effects on male and female courtship behaviors [ 2 ].