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Raw data for: Plastic responses of males and females interact to determine mating behaviour

Cite this dataset

Chapman, Tracey (2022). Raw data for: Plastic responses of males and females interact to determine mating behaviour [Dataset]. Dryad.


Individuals can respond plastically to variation in their social environment. However, each sex may respond to different cues and contrasting aspects of competition. Theory suggests that the plastic phenotype expressed by one sex can influence evolutionary dynamics in the other, and that plasticity simultaneously expressed by both sexes can exert sex-specific effects on fitness. However, data are needed to test this theory base. Here, we examined whether the simultaneous expression of adaptive plasticity by both sexes of Drosophila melanogaster fruit flies in response to their respective social environments interacts to determine the value of key reproductive traits (mating latency, duration and fecundity). To vary social environments, males were kept alone, or with same sex rivals, and females were kept alone, in same-sex, or mixed-sex groups. Matings were then conducted between individuals from all of these 5 social treatments in all combinations, and the resulting reproductive traits measured in both ‘choice’ and ‘no choice’ assays. Mating latency was determined by an interaction between the plastic responses of both sexes to their social environments. Interestingly, the mating latency response occurred in opposing directions in the different assays. In females exposed to same-sex social treatments, mating latency was more rapid with rival treatment males in the choice assays, but slower with those same males in no choice assays. In contrast, mating duration was determined purely by responses of males to their social environments, and fecundity purely by responses of females. Collectively, the results show that plastic responses represent an important and novel facet of sexual interactions.


See main MS for detailed descriptions of data collection. The file here contains the raw data that has not been processed.

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Natural Environment Research Council, Award: NE/R000891/1