Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Female Flies Expel Sperm and Eat It

Tanya Lewis, LiveScience Staff Writer
Date: 11 April 2013 Time: 02:08 PM ET

Female Ulidiid flies have a kinky habit: After mating with a male, they expel his sperm and eat it.

The odd behavior may help these lady flies choose which guy flies will father their young, researchers reported online today (April 11) in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.

Studying a species of "picture-winged fly," known as Euxesta bilimeki, researchers found that 100 percent of the 74 fly couples they studied spewed out ejaculate after mating. Further study revealed that 25 percent of females harbored no sperm afterward. The findings suggest the fly dames were able to control how much sperm to expel in order to select which males fertilized their eggs.

And these fly gals are no romantics — long periods of courtship before mating made females more likely to expel all the ejaculate, results showed. The researchers suggest that the female may simply be giving in to a determined male in order to stave off future advances, but dispensing with his sperm before he can father her babies.

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