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Table 1.

Effects of male genital sensilla on mating in three Drosophila species

Mating posture
SpeciesNMating frequency (%)Central (%)Left side (%)Right side (%)Mean copulation latency (min)
D. melanogaster       
Ablation of clasper long sensilla       
Control 52 88.5 82.6 6.5 10.9 8.8±0.7 
Bilateral ablation 30 36.7 72.7 18.2 9.1 10±2 
Right-side ablation 36 72.2 11.5 57.7 30.8 11.5±2.6 
Left-side ablation 33 66.7 4.5 17.4 78.3 11.2±1.3 
D. melanogaster       
Ablation of lateral plate long sensilla       
Control 55 85.4 74.5 12.8 12.8 6.7±0.6 
Bilateral ablation 35 71.4 40 24 36 12.2±1.9 
Right-side ablation 35 80 28.6 35.7 35.7 10.7±1.3 
Left-side ablation 35 65.7 30.4 30.4 39.2 8.5±1.7 
D. simulans       
Ablation of clasper long sensilla       
Control 56 32 94.2 5.8 18.7±3.4 
Bilateral ablation 41 15 100 18.7±4.6 
Right-side ablation 41 27 81.8 18.2 16.3±4.1 
Left-side ablation 41 27 81.8 9.1 9.1 24.7±6.3 
D. sechellia       
Ablation of clasper long sensilla       
Control 40 15 100 7.2±2.1 
Bilateral ablation 38 13 80 20 14.6±5.2 
Mating posture
SpeciesNMating frequency (%)Central (%)Left side (%)Right side (%)Mean copulation latency (min)
D. melanogaster       
Ablation of clasper long sensilla       
Control 52 88.5 82.6 6.5 10.9 8.8±0.7 
Bilateral ablation 30 36.7 72.7 18.2 9.1 10±2 
Right-side ablation 36 72.2 11.5 57.7 30.8 11.5±2.6 
Left-side ablation 33 66.7 4.5 17.4 78.3 11.2±1.3 
D. melanogaster       
Ablation of lateral plate long sensilla       
Control 55 85.4 74.5 12.8 12.8 6.7±0.6 
Bilateral ablation 35 71.4 40 24 36 12.2±1.9 
Right-side ablation 35 80 28.6 35.7 35.7 10.7±1.3 
Left-side ablation 35 65.7 30.4 30.4 39.2 8.5±1.7 
D. simulans       
Ablation of clasper long sensilla       
Control 56 32 94.2 5.8 18.7±3.4 
Bilateral ablation 41 15 100 18.7±4.6 
Right-side ablation 41 27 81.8 18.2 16.3±4.1 
Left-side ablation 41 27 81.8 9.1 9.1 24.7±6.3 
D. sechellia       
Ablation of clasper long sensilla       
Control 40 15 100 7.2±2.1 
Bilateral ablation 38 13 80 20 14.6±5.2 

Uni- and bilateral ablations were performed on the long bristle of the clasper in D. melanogaster, D. simulans or D. sechellia and on 1 or 2 sensilla of the lateral plate in D. melanogaster.

The frequency of mating posture is relative to the total number of successful matings. D. melanogaster males with bilaterally ablated clasper sensilla mated significantly less frequently than intact males:χ 2=21.7; P<0.001.

Copulation duration showed clear interspecific differences: 18.3±0.3 min in D. melanogaster, 24.0±0.8 min in D. simulans,25.8±2.2 min in D. sechellia (F2,67=40.03, P=0.0001). No differences were found between control and experimental males (data not shown).

For copulation latency, a significant difference was found only for D. melanogaster LP1b ablation (F3,118=5.63, P=0.001), but not in the other cases: D. melanogaster CL1b ablation (F3,101=0.97, NS), D. simulans CL1b ablation (F3,42=0.392, NS), D. sechelliaCL1b ablation (F1,9=1.81, NS).

NS, not significant.

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