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Data from: Fitness consequences of redundant cues of competition in male D. melanogaster

Cite this dataset

Chapman, Tracey; Dore, Alice; Bretman, Amanda (2021). Data from: Fitness consequences of redundant cues of competition in male D. melanogaster [Dataset]. Dryad.


Phenotypic plasticity can allow animals to adapt their behaviour, such as their mating effort, to their social and sexual environment. However, this relies on the individual receiving accurate and reliable cues of the environmental conditions. This can be achieved via the receipt of multimodal cues, which may provide redundancy and robustness. Male Drosophila melanogaster detect presence of rivals via combinations of any two or more redundant cue components (sound, smell and touch) and respond by extending their subsequent mating duration, which is associated with higher reproductive success. Although alternative combinations of cues of rival presence have previously been found to elicit equivalent increases in mating duration and offspring production, their redundancy in securing success under sperm competition has not previously been tested. Here, we explicitly test this by exposing male D. melanogaster to alternative combinations of rival cues, and examine reproductive success in both the presence and absence of sperm competition. The results supported previous findings of redundancy of cues in terms of behavioural responses. However, there was no evidence of reproductive benefits accrued by extending mating duration in response to rivals. The lack of identifiable fitness benefits of longer mating under these conditions, both in the presence and absence of sperm competition, contrasted with some previous results, but could be explained by: 1) damage sustained from aggressive interactions with rivals leading to reduced ability to increase ejaculate investment, 2) presence of features of the social environment, such as male and female mating status, that obscured the fitness benefits of longer mating, 3) decoupling of behavioural investment with fitness benefits.


Details of collection are given in the read me data tab and details of the statistical analyses in the main MS.

Usage notes

Read me tab forms the first sheet of the raw data file.


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

Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council, Award: BB/L003139/1