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J Insect Physiol. 2008 Feb;54(2):421-8. Epub 2007 Nov 7.

Ability of male Queensland fruit flies to inhibit receptivity in multiple mates, and the associated recovery of accessory glands.

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  • 1Centre for the Integrative Study of Animal Behaviour, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW, Australia.


Mating success of male insects is commonly determined by their ability to find and copulate with multiple females, but is also determined by their ability to transfer an effective ejaculate. In order to succeed in these tasks, males must first succeed in replenishing the necessary reproductive reserves between mating opportunities. We here investigate the ability of male Queensland fruit flies ('Q-fly') to recover from their first matings in time to both mate again the following day and to induce sexual inhibition in successive mates. We have previously found that accessory gland fluids (AGFs) transferred in the ejaculate of male Q-flies are directly responsible for induction of sexual inhibition in their mates. We here investigate changes in male accessory gland, testis and ejaculatory apodeme dimensions that are likely to reflect depletion and recovery of contents. We found no differences between virgin and previously mated males in their ability to obtain matings or to induce sexual inhibition in their mates, indicating a full recovery of the necessary reproductive reserves between mating opportunities. Whereas no changes were detected in testis or ejaculatory apodeme size following mating, the recovery of male ability to inhibit female remating was closely reflected in the mesodermal accessory gland dimensions; these accessory glands greatly diminished in size (length and area) immediately after mating, with recovery commencing between 5.5 and 11 h after mating. The accessory glands then expanded to reach their original size in time to mate the following day and induce sexual inhibition in the next mate.

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