skip navigation Logo and link to home page

Mating Walnut Flies:
Next page
Previous page
Beginning of module
Contents of this module

Principles of Animal Behavior:
Behavior News
Site Tour

Previous | Next

Contents of the Mating Walnut Flies module:

Synopsis: The focus of this module is on the puzzling behavior of mating walnut flies: sometimes they mate for a short time, and other times the mating is longer in duration. The key to this behavior is related to another type of behavior: foraging for food.

After introducing the walnut fly and preparing the user to take data, a series of slide shows (or animated movies) illustrates the mating behavior of these flies, while a tally of eggs fertilized is kept to the right of the animation. The user records the data, then takes a self-scoring quiz on what patterns were observed.

The module ends with a feature on the actual research that revealed the causes of different mating behaviors. The module is about 15 pages long.

1. Introduction

1a. Getting Started: learning objectives and technical requirements

2. Prerequisites: understanding the basics of optimal foraging theory will help you get the most out of this module. Presents an optional quiz to test your knowledge, and provides a link to an excellent site on optimal foraging.

3. Background and Setup: life history and basic mating behavior of the walnut fruit fly.
Supplemental reading:
     Sperm competition
     Sex ratios
     Alternative mating strategies

4. Overview of the mating game: introduction to the interactive exercise. Blank data table to be used to record data.

5. Mating scenarios: an interactive exercise in which the user chooses the sex ratio and the mating behavior, and observes the animated results. There is also a text-only version of the scenarios.

6a. Brief followup.

6. Quiz: tests your understanding of the mating scenarios exercise.

7. Sex ratios and copulation duration: how one affects the other.

8. Gain curves: graphs of how the fertilization rates change over time.

9. Mating behavior and optimal foraging theory: the tie-in with optimal foraging, and the actual research on walnut flies that demonstrated the link.

10. Summary

Top of page

Mating Walnut Flies: Start | Contents
Principles of Animal Behavior: Home | Modules | Contents | Links | Behavior News
Problems using this page? Email the webmaster