Female copulation song is modulated by seminal fluid

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In most animal species, males and females communicate during sexual behavior to negotiate reproductive investments. Pre-copulatory courtship may settle if copulation takes place, but often information exchange and decision-making continue beyond that point. Here, we show that female Drosophila sing by wing vibration in copula. This copulation song is distinct from male courtship song and requires neurons expressing the female sex determination factor DoublesexF. Copulation song depends on transfer of seminal fluid components of the male accessory gland. Hearing female copulation song increases the reproductive success of a male when he is challenged by competition, suggesting that auditory cues from the female modulate male ejaculate allocation. Our findings reveal an unexpected fine-tuning of reproductive decisions during a multimodal copulatory dialog. The discovery of a female-specific acoustic behavior sheds new light on Drosophila mating, sexual dimorphisms of neuronal circuits and the impact of seminal fluid molecules on nervous system and behavior.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1430
JournalNature Communications
Volume11
Issue1
Pages (from-to)1430
ISSN2041-1723
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020

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