Fight! Fight! Fight!
Boy, this brought a happy giggle to my week. Forget about chicken fights. Fly fighting is in! While I was fiddling with literature searches, I stumbled upon this paper by Dierick and Greenspan which is attempting to get into the molecular basis for aggression, specifically in Drosophila melanogaster. The experiments sounded fun. In order to select for aggression, the investigators watched two flies fight in what was called “the two-male arena assay.” Each fighting pair was graded on how long it took to start a fight, frequency of fights, duration of fights, and intensity of fights. See the video. (Also The Fruit Fly Fight Club for those of you who missed it when I posted it previously.)
There was one observation in the paper that I found sort of interesting. Without a territory, aggressive flies actually had less success competing for mates than the neutral flies. This must certainly give hope to “beta” and “gamma” males if everything else is equal…