Menu

Male Fruit Flies Take Pleasure in Having Sex

Sex-deprived males seek out alcohol.

Apr 20, 2018
Jim Daley

A male fly (Drosophila melanogaster) is exposed to red light to activate CRZ neurons and trigger ejaculation.AVI JACOB, BIU MICROSCOPY UNIT

Male fruit flies enjoy ejaculating, according to research published yesterday (April 20) in Current Biology. The study also found that when fruit flies are denied sex, they consume more alcohol than usual. It is the first study to demonstrate that insects find sex pleasurable.

“We wanted to know which part of the mating process entails the rewarding value for flies,” says Galit Shohat-Ophir, a neurobiologist at Bar-Ilan University in Israel, in a statement. “The actions that males perform during courtship? A female’s pheromones? The last step of mating which is sperm and seminal fluid release?”

To test if the latter is pleasurable, Shohat-Ophi and her colleagues used genetically engineered male fruit flies whose neurons controlling ejaculation can be activated by red light. These flies spent more time near the red light, presumably because they found ejaculation pleasurable, the authors say in the statement.

David Anderson, a neurobiologist at Caltech who was not part of the study, tells National Geographic that it’s possible the pleasure the flies experienced wasn’t from ejaculation, but other reward systems in the brain that the stimulated neurons act upon.

Next, the researchers plied the flies with alcoholic and nonalcoholic drinks and observed their response. The flies that had ejaculated preferred nonalcoholic drinks, while those that had not been exposed to the red light chose the alcoholic ones. “Male flies that are sexually deprived have increased motivation to consume alcohol as an alternative reward,” says Shohat-Ophi in the statement.

February 2019

Big Storms Brewing

Can forests weather more major hurricanes?

Marketplace

Sponsored Product Updates

Bio-Rad Showcases New Automation Features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer at SLAS 2019
Bio-Rad Showcases New Automation Features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer at SLAS 2019
Bio-Rad Laboratories, Inc. (NYSE: BIO and BIOb) today showcases new automation features of its ZE5 Cell Analyzer during the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening 2019 International Conference and Exhibition (SLAS) in Washington, D.C., February 2–6. These capabilities enable the ZE5 to be used for high-throughput flow cytometry in biomarker discovery and phenotypic screening.
Andrew Alliance and Sartorius Collaborate to Provide Software-Connected Pipettes for Life Science Research
Andrew Alliance and Sartorius Collaborate to Provide Software-Connected Pipettes for Life Science Research
Researchers to benefit from an innovative software-connected pipetting system, bringing improved reproducibility and traceability of experiments to life-science laboratories.
Corning Life Sciences to Feature 3D Cell Culture Technologies at SLAS 2019
Corning Life Sciences to Feature 3D Cell Culture Technologies at SLAS 2019
Corning Incorporated (NYSE: GLW) will showcase advanced 3D cell culture technologies and workflow solutions for spheroids, organoids, tissue models, and applications including ADME/toxicology at the Society for Laboratory Automation and Screening (SLAS) conference, Feb. 2-6 in Washington, D.C.
Corning Introduces New 1536-well Spheroid Microplate
Corning Introduces New 1536-well Spheroid Microplate
High-throughput spheroid microplate benefits cancer research, drug screening