Since males like sex to last longer, a fight ensues.
“After about a minute and a half (of mating), the female begins kicking and struggling,” National Geographic News quoted Kirsten Klappert, of the Swiss Federal Institute of Aquatic Science and Technology, as having written in the study report.
The researcher notes that when mating lasts longer, female flies have less time to mate again with a different male, if they do so at all.
Although that is good for males flies, as it means that their sperm have less competition, it can be disastrous for females.
“Many male Drosophila montana are infertile, so if you only mate with one you have a high risk of no offspring at all,” Klappert said.
During the study, Klappert’s team paired live males with dead females to see how much control female flies have over mating length.
The dead insects were propped up to convince the males that they were still alive, and ready for sex, said the researchers.
The team observed that male flies’ sex with the dead insects lasted 1.5 times longer than it did with live females.
This finding does attain significance because scientists at other institutions believe that humans can relate to the female fruit fly’s desires.
Rhonda Snook, a senior lecturer at the University of Sheffield in England who studies sexual selection and reproductive behaviour in fruit flies, said: “I don””t know you could say human females want longer copulation, per se. It””s really the foreplay, not the actual act of copulation. In the insects, prior to that, there””s courtship going on, and that””s like foreplay in humans.”
A research article describing Klappert’s study has been published in the journal BMC Evolutionary Biology.