Rivalry helps fruit flies maintain brainpower

Males dim mentally after generations without competitors

By Susan Milius, 12:48 PM February 26, 2014

The demands of outmaneuvering other guys when courting may help male fruit flies stay mentally sharp.

 

After more than 100 generations in the lab without male competition, male fruit flies didn’t do so well in a standard test of learning, reports evolutionary biologist Brian Hollis of the University of Lausanne in Switzerland.

 

The male Drosophila melanogaster still courted with normal enthusiasm and success when alone with a female. But in groups, the long-sheltered males lagged when competing...

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