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J Insect Physiol. 2010 Dec;56(12):1755-62. doi: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2010.07.005. Epub 2010 Jul 30.

Control of copula duration and sperm storage by female Queensland fruit flies.

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Department of Brain, Behaviour & Evolution, Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109, Australia.


Copula duration and sperm storage patterns can directly or indirectly affect fitness of male and female insects. Although both sexes have an interest in the outcome, research has tended to focus on males. To investigate female influences, we compared copula duration and sperm storage of Queensland fruit fly females that were intact, or had been incapacitated through decapitation or abdomen isolation. We found that copulations were far longer when females had been incapacitated, indicating that constraints imposed on copula duration by intact females had been relaxed. Repeatability of copula duration for males was very low regardless of female treatment, and this is also consistent with strong female influence. Number of sperm in the spermathecae was not influenced by female treatment, suggesting that female abdominal ganglia control the transport of sperm to these long-term storage organs. However, more sperm were found in the ventral receptacles of incapacitated females compared to intact females. Overall, results implicate cephalic ganglia in regulation of copula duration and short-term sperm storage in the ventral receptacle and abdominal ganglia in regulation of long-term sperm storage in the spermathecae.

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