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No evidence that relatedness or familiarity modulate male harm in Drosophila melanogaster flies from a wild population

Citation

Carazo, Pau (2022), No evidence that relatedness or familiarity modulate male harm in Drosophila melanogaster flies from a wild population, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.547d7wmb4

Abstract

Sexual selection frequently promotes the evolution of aggressive behaviours that help males compete against their rivals, but which may harm females and hamper their fitness. Kin selection theory predicts that optimal male-male competition levels can be reduced when competitors are more genetically related to each other than to the population average, contributing to resolve this sexual conflict. Work in Drosophila melanogaster has spearheaded empirical tests of this idea, but studies so far have been conducted in lab-adapted populations in homogeneous rearing environments that may hamper kin recognition, and used highly skewed sex ratios that may fail to reflect average natural conditions. Here, we performed a fully factorial design with the aim of exploring how rearing environment (i.e. familiarity) and relatedness affect male-male aggression, male harassment, and overall male harm levels in flies from a wild population of Drosophila melanogaster, under more natural conditions. Namely, we: a) manipulated relatedness and familiarity so that larvae reared apart were raised in different environments, as is common in the wild, and b) studied the effects of relatedness and familiarity under average levels of male-male competition in the field. We show that, contrary to previous findings, groups of unrelated-unfamiliar males were as likely to fight with each other and harass females than related-familiar males, and that overall levels of male harm to females were similar across treatments. Our results suggest that the role of kin selection in modulating sexual conflict is yet unclear in Drosophila melanogaster, and call for further studies that focus on natural populations and realistic socio-sexual and ecological environments.

Methods

Please refere to README file and methods section in the paper.

Funding