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Title: A detailed analysis of bioacoustical signals and behaviour during Drosphila melanogaster courtship
Author: Jónsson, Björn Thorin
ISNI:       0000 0004 2736 9721
Awarding Body: University of Bristol
Current Institution: University of Bristol
Date of Award: 2012
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In order to gain access to mating partners, male Drosophila melanogaster produce complex multi-modal behaviours during courtship, signalling intention and quality by means of multiple communication signals. An integral part of male courtship behaviour is the production of species-specific 'love songs', acoustic signals consisting of trains of pulses (pulse song) interspersed with sinusoidal humming (sine song). Females receive these songs and other signals and ultimately decide whether the males' courtship is effective or futile. Despite nearly one hundred years of research on the courtship behaviour, little is known about what constitutes successful courtship in general and successful song in particular. To investigate whether differences in spatial and acoustic courtship between copulating and non-copulating males exist, a method was developed to synchronously record the visual and acoustic components of complete courtship sequences. An array of four miniature particle velocity microphones in combination with video recordings was used, and tracking of individual animals and computational processing of the results allowed for the creation of large datasets characterising the spatio-temporal and acoustic actions of the flies at all times. These datasets were used to establish the songs' spectro-temporal characteristics for entire courtship sequences. Successful males differ from unsuccessful ones in producing shorter song pulses and higher-pitched sine songs. Drosophila proxemics - the description of how courting pairs structure their space - shows that social space is sexually dimorphic, and that unsuccessful males exhibit an increased intersexual distance during pulse song production. Furthermore, accurate measurements and calculations of the absolute intensity of songs were performed to quantify them as they are produced by the male's wing and received by the female's ears. Drosophila courtship is a combination of complex behaviours and this work establishes that it is not only the male's song that is important for success, but also his proxemics.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available