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On the use of private versus social information in oviposition site choice decisions by Drosophila melanogaster females

Citation

Long, Tristan; Malek, Heather (2020), On the use of private versus social information in oviposition site choice decisions by Drosophila melanogaster females, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.q573n5tfj

Abstract

Individuals are faced with decisions throughout their lifetimes, and the choices they make often have important consequences towards their fitness. Being able to discern which available option is best to pursue often incurs sampling costs, which may be largely avoided by copying the behaviour and decisions of others. Although social learning and copying behaviours are widespread, much remains unknown about how effective and adaptive copying behaviour is, as well as the factors that underlie its expression. Recently, it has been suggested that since female fruit flies (Drosophila melanogaster) appear to rely heavily on public information when selecting oviposition sites, they are a promising model system for researching patch-choice copying, and more generally, the mechanisms that control decision-making. Here, we set out to determine how well female distinguish between socially-produced cues, and whether females are using ‘relevant’ signals when choosing an oviposition site. We found that females showed a strong preference for ovipositing on media patches that had been previously occupied by ovipositing females of the same species and diet over other female outgroups. However, in a separate assay, we observed that females favoured ovipositing on media patches that previously housed virgin males over those exhibiting alternative conspecific signals. Our results confirm that females use cues left behind by other flies when choosing between potential oviposition sites, though their prioritization of these signals raises serious questions as to whether fruit flies are employing copying behaviour, or are instead responding to signals that may not be of relevance to oviposition site suitability.

Methods

The data was collected through observation of the location of female fruit flies on different media dishes. The number of offspring that females oviposited on the dishes was also counted.

Usage Notes

  • EXP_1_IV_24_FOCAL_FEMALES_SUMS_OFFSPRING.csv
    • This file contains the total number of focal IV-24 female counts on each media type in each arena, and the number of offspring eclosing from those dishes in Experiment # 1
  • EXP_1_IV_24_FEMALES.xlsx   62.63 kB
    • This file contains the raw focal IV-24 female counts on each media type in each arena at each observation time-point in Experiment # 1
  • EXP_1_IV_FEMALES.xlsx   62.93 kB
    • This file contains the raw focal IV female counts on each media type in each arena at each observation time-point in Experiment # 1
  • EXP_1_IV_FOCAL_FEMALES_SUMS_OFFSPRING.csv   4.46 kB
    • This file contains the total number of focal IV female counts on each media type in each arena, and the number of offspring eclosing from those dishes in Experiment # 1
  • EXP_2_SUMS_MATED_VIRGIN_FOCAL_FEMALES.csv   5.96 kB
    • This file contains the total number of focal mated and virgin female counts on each media type in each arena, and the number of offspring eclosing from dishes in those arenas that had virgin focal females in Experiment # 2
  • EXP_2_MATED_FEMALES.xlsx   58.24 kB
    • This file contains the raw focal mated female counts on each media type in each arena at each observation time-point in Experiment # 2
  • EXP_2_VIRGIN_FEMALES.xlsx   58.24 kB
    • This file contains the raw focal mated female counts on each media type in each arena at each observation time-point in Experiment # 2

Funding

Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, Award: Discovery Grant