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Riley Elder

Biology 1615
Instructor: Annette Shelton
A Cost of Sexual Attractiveness to High-Fitness Females
The Main authors of the article entitled A Cost of Sexual Attractiveness to High-Fitness
Females main purpose was to show how male mating preference directed to females of smaller
size and or of better fitness has certain costs for a population. The experiment they conducted
consisted of watching the sexual behavior of the common fruit fly for four hundred generations,
the observed how the population over time was affected by the specific sexual choice of the
males over their mates, and whether or not the outcome was beneficial or damaging to the
population as a whole.
Abstract: Many in-depth studies have been carried out on the topic of Female preference
mating, and how that particular sexual behavior would affect the population as a whole. But very
little evidence and hard study has been shown for the opposite; the behavior and repercussions of
a male preference mating population. The purpose of this study revolves around that.
Introduction: In many typical sexual experiences, when the male attempts to mate
with the female, some unexpected costly results can come from such attempts. Females of many
species have been hurt and agitated by continuous and incessant mating attempts by males, in
fact, mating attempts account for a large portion of the recognized mortality of females in many
species. In this study the effects of an evolved preference for females with high-fecundity have
been weighed and reviewed.
Materials and Methods: D. melanogaster adults (Common fruit flies) were used for
experiments involving male-female relations, and were observed to see the repercussions on
females of different sizes based on the males sexual persistency, and to find the variation of
offspring procured by such persistency. Large and Small females were presented, consisting of

Riley Elder
Biology 1615
Instructor: Annette Shelton
both virgin and non-virgin flies. Males were placed with the females and observed to record their
preference in the different female types and how that would affect the population as a whole over
time. The fruit flies reproduced and their behaviors were observed for near four hundred
generations to determine the long term affect.
Results: After observing the behavior of the males in their choices of females for near
one hundred generations it was determined that: While some times the males did attract to the
smaller virgin flies it was evident that the majority of the male flies were attracted to and
attempted to mate with the larger non-virgin flies. It was also observed that these larger females
that grabbed the attention of the males showed more inimical affects. When the male flies mated
with the smaller/fit females, less and less offspring were produced. This decreased the number of
possible offspring and variation of their appearances due to their inherited genotype.
Discussion: The Male flies attraction to the larger non-virgin females most likely had a
direct connection with their level of fecundity, larger females showed significantly more
offspring then the smaller females, which in turn would attract a male that wanted to pass on his
genetics to the next generation, ensuring the survival of his genes. This lead to more incessant
mating attempts increasing the mortality of the larger female flies. While the smaller flies had
less mating attempts that caused harm, they produced less offspring and differentiation.
Therefore, males with sexual preference to smaller, more fit flies, could lead to decrease in
offspring and genetic variation, and could quite possibly over great deal of time, extinct a species
or population. It is most likely probable that these same results could be achieved in different
species if enough time was devoted to the study. It was due to the amount of time that such an
experiment involving a much longer-lived species would take, that no such undertaking

Riley Elder
Biology 1615
Instructor: Annette Shelton
involving another species was made. However, it is fair to include that these results would be
found if such an experiment took place.

Riley Elder
Biology 1615
Instructor: Annette Shelton
Tristan A. F. Long, A. P. (2009, December 8). A Cost of Sexual Attractiveness to High-Fitness
Females. Retrieved september 30, 2014, from