A recent Oxford study has revealed that flies with brothers make better sexual partners and compete less for lovers.
The study found that flies, like humans, are better at sharing if they have a sibling. Flies who have a brother are not as desperate to mate and are more sympathetic towards the female.
Dr Tom Pizzari, who led the study, said female flies can be “pestered for sex”.
“When unrelated flies are together, the females are constantly being pestered for sex, which may leave them little time to eat or rest,” he said.
The result is less aggressive mating with the females.
Dr Pizzari added: “We have lacked a framework to understand why males can be quite nasty to females in some species or populations and quite benign in others. Our study tested the novel idea that it is the structure of populations that explains this diversity.” Competition to reproduce the family gene means that independent flies are more persistent in their courting. Since brother flies share their genes, they are calmer and less competitive. This is because “their genes will get passed on if their sibling mates successfully anyway,” the study said.
The group of scientists hopes to continue their research into the mechanisms behind these results. The next questions they will address include how males recognise brothers and how they adjust their sexual behaviour.
Regent’s Park student Henna Shah remarked: “Well at least girls finally have an explanation for bad dates… check if they have a brother!”