Nutritional status affects copula duration in the mediterranean fruit fly, ceratitis capitata (insecta tephritidae)

S. A. Field*, B. Yuval

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


We examined the influence of male and female nutritional status on mating behaviour in the Mediterranean fruit fly, Ceratitis capitata (Weidemann). Protein-deprived females mated with males of smaller average size than those chosen by protein-fed females, indicating a relaxation of selectivity in the usual mate preferences of this laboratory strain. The effect of female nutrition on copula duration was stronger than that of male nutrition, suggesting that females exert substantial control over copulation. When both males and females were deprived of protein, copula duration for the first mating was prolonged. The interests of protein-deprived males may be served by mating for longer, due to their lesser ability to obtain further matings. The benefit to females of mating for longer when protein-deprived is less obvious, and may simply be due to a lesser ability to force the male to disengage. Another possibility is that females obtain a nutritional benefit from the male, in which case the longer copulations would represent a confluence of male and female interests.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)61-70
Number of pages10
JournalEthology Ecology and Evolution
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1999

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank: S. Shloush and R. Kaspi for help in the laboratory; Y. Rossler and R. Akiva for generously providing insects; P. Taylor for helpful comments on the manuscript; and H. Voet for statistical advice and help with analyses. This work was supported by the Israel Science Foundation.


  • Copula duration
  • Mediterranean fruit fly
  • Nutrition
  • Sexual conflict
  • Tephritidae


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