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Data from: Prior information and social experience influence male reproductive decisions


Balaban-Feld, Jesse; Valone, Thomas J. (2017), Data from: Prior information and social experience influence male reproductive decisions, Dryad, Dataset,


Increasing attention has focused on understanding how past experiences can influence and explain variation in mating preferences among individuals. We examined how previous social experiences affected courtship preferences in Drosophila melanogaster by exposing individual males to different frequency distributions of high- and low-quality (HQ and LQ) females and by allowing them to copulate with either a HQ or LQ mate. For a male, a large female represents a high-quality mate while a small female is a low-quality mate. We subsequently quantified the courtship behavior of these individuals in the presence of one HQ and one LQ female. Two aspects of male courtship behavior were significantly influenced by prior experience. Males previously exposed to a population of 75% HQ females more often initially courted the HQ than LQ female and more strongly biased overall courtship activity toward the HQ female compared to males previously exposed to a population of 25% HQ females. Furthermore, for some males, the type of female a male mated with in the experience phase influenced the type of female he first courted in the test phase: males that experienced a population containing only 25% HQ females and who mated with a LQ female in the experience phase, more often courted the LQ female first in the test phase while all other males biased courtship toward the HQ female. Our results indicate that information gained about the relative abundance of mate quality types and previous mating experience can affect future mating behavior.

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