Male dance flies found to favor females with bigger abdominal air sacs

phys.org | 9/19/2018 | Staff
penaert (Posted by) Level 3
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A team of researchers with the University of Toronto and the University of Stirling has found that male dance flies prefer to mate with females that have larger abdominal sacs. In their paper published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B, the group describes their study of the insects and what they found out about their mating habits.

Dance flies are a kind of fly that appear to dance in the air during their mating rituals. They do so in swarms, creating a hypnotic scene for human bystanders. In this new effort, the researchers ventured out into the field to observe one species in action— Rhamphomyia longicauda.

Researchers - Ornamentation - Males - Species - Mating

The researchers note that ornamentation in males of various species as it relates to mating has been extensively documented—less so is ornamentation in females. Female dance flies have abdominal sacs on the sides of their abdomens that they fill with air, possibly to make them look bigger. They also have pinnate leg scales, which look like hairy legs, another feature that can make the female look bigger.

In studying the mating behavior of the flies, the researchers found that the females would pull in air just before joining a swarm,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: phys.org
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