Researchers at U of T show that male flies prefer females with large abdomens and hairy legs


male fly
Photo: David Funk

Rosalind Murray, Postdoctoral Fellow at Rowe Lab and McCauley Lab along with her colleagues, Darryl GwynneJill Wheeler and Luc Bussière have now revealed the lengths to which females of the species Rhamphomyia longicauda go to attract a mate at these dances.

 

Before they enter a swarm, females swallow air to inflate sacs along their abdomen to make their bodies look bigger. They also keep their legs parallel to their abdomens. Because of the hair-like pinnate scales along the legs, this too makes the females look larger to males entering the swarm from below.

“Females look like little helicopters, flocking together within the swarm,” says Murray. “The males assess the females, then they pair off, and basically fall out of the sky.”

Full paper and article can be found here: 

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