Sex worth risking your life for?

Mon 23 Jul

Flies living among bats have a hard time mating, as it seems bats can use the sound they make while copulating to find them, and earn themselves a "two-for-one" dinner deal. The study, published in the July 24th issue of Current Biology, is the first to show that an increased risk of predation, due to higher exposure to predators, is a significant cost of sex.

"When mating, the flies utter a burst of broadband, click-like signals, likely from the male's wing-fluttering," said lead author Dr. Stefan Greif, from the Max Planck Institute for Ornithology. And it seems that this buzzing is sufficient for the bats to find them.

Before starting this study, researchers knew one thing, that somehow this nocturnal bats where eating lots of these diurnal flies, which was a bit of a mystery. As a first step in this study, researchers filmed a bat colony living in a cowshed that housed a virtually unlimited supply of flies. From these observations researchers found that flies hardly ever fly at night, and that bats almost never attack flies while they are sitting still or walking. But as soon as flies start having sex, their risk of being captured by hungry bats sky-rocketed. According to a press release "on average across four years and 1,100 observed acts of fly sex, about 5 percent of the flies caught in the act by the researchers were also detected and attacked by the bats. In about 60 percent of those cases, the bat attacker successfully gobbled up both flies for a double meal." Dr. Greif thinks other predators might also use this strategy to get themselves a two-for-one dinner deal. "Many animals are not only conspicuous in being vocal during sex, but they are also distracted in their attention," he says. So, boy and girls, the message is clear: Sex kills, at least in the world of flies.

Two key implications from this study concern "how flexible the bats can be in their hunting behavior, and that it is dangerous for flies to copulate when bats are around". Dr. Greif told The Munich Times. This deadly eavesdropping bat behavior represents a major evolutionary pressure on fly copulation, and over evolutionary time it will be interesting to learn how these flies manage to deal with this pressure, as Dr. Greif explains. " would be interesting to have a closer look at potential consequences of the before-mentioned evolutionary pressure. Are the flies developing any counter strategies? Or is the pressure not high enough?"

Write a comment ...
Post comment

Olympiaturm Turns 50

Munich's Olympic Tower was  opened exactly 50 years ago - on February 22nd 1968 - for the first time. With its exactly 291.28 meters, it is to this...

Why Hillary Is Good For Your Health

Hillary the hawk at Stachus
Passing through the basement floor at Stachus these days you might not be sure if you can trust your eyes, as Hillary the Harris Hawk is likely to...

Oh dear, Obikes

Obike Muenchen
So far since launch, 6800 Obikes bikes have been positioned in Munich. More and more of these bicycles-for-rent are being deliberately damaged. Not...

Winter Tollwood 2017

Tollwood Winter Festival
Tollwood Winter Festival 2017 is currently taking place at the Theresienwiese in Munich.
This year's festival motto is: "We, all. Let's stand up and...

Engineering Jobs Fair in Munich

Munich Engineering Jobs - accepting CVs
The Association of German Engineers (VDI) is hosting its annual engineering recruitment fair on Thursday 16th November in Munich. The day-long event...

Second S-Bahn weekend maintenance closures

SBahn delays
For the second - and last - time of the year, the S-Bahn Stammstrecke (main line) will be out of service due to repair and maintenance works.


Munich Security Conference 2018 - City Center becomes a restricted area

Munich Security Conference 2018
This year's Munich Security Conference (MSC) will be held from February 16 - 18th, 2018 at the "Hotel Bayerischer Hof" again. On the agenda are, in...

Institutionalist Ciudadanos won the election, but pro independence parties retain majority

Ines Arrimadas, leader of Ciudadanos with 37 seats obtained most of the support from voters (25,3), but it wasn´t enough to break a majority of pro...

DB Sprinter Hits Technical Issues

It should have been the glorious end of a long and expensive journey; after more than 25 years of planning, political discussions, building halts and...

Is an Executive MBA Worth it?

Chicago Booth MBA
The Future of Business Education: Is an Executive MBA Worth it? Join Chicago Booth in Munich for a candid panel discussion and audience Q&A with...

Rosenheimerplatz Knife Attack - multiple victims

UPDATE: Munich police have now confirmed the man being held is in fact their prime suspect and the emergency situation is now over. UPDATE: a man...

Munich Top City for IT and Engineering

Munich top city for engineering jobs
Back in 2014, a study by the European Commission confirmed that Munich is the city that offers Information and Communication Technology (ICT)...

Advertise with The Munich Eye
Public Service Advertisements
Shades of Love
Spanish Finca for rent Web Site Optimisation
Newspaper sudoku