AQA A Level Biology

Revision Notes

4.5.1 Courtship


  • Organisms belong to the same species if they interbreed in their natural habitat to produce fertile offspring
  • The process of successful interbreeding or mating is preceded by some form of courtship behaviour
  • Courtship in animals is a behaviour that eventually results in mating and reproduction
  • It can be a very simple process that involves a small number of visual, chemical or auditory stimuli
  • It can also be a highly complex sequence of acts by two or more individuals, which are using several modes of communication
    • Many birds of paradise have intricate and impressive courtship rituals
  • Courtship can play a major role in species recognition

Courtship Behaviour in Drosophila

  • There are several different species of fruit fly within the genus Drosophila
  • It is extremely difficult to tell the different species apart from one another by their physical appearance
  • However, the different species of fruit fly have different courtship rituals which aid species recognition
  • Before mating the male fruit fly performs a dance: he vibrates his wings, alters his body position and licks the female
  • This sequence of events performed by the male is controlled by several genes and is specific to each species
  • A female will not respond to or mate with a male that displays an incorrect courtship dance
  • Females also have certain actions that she goes through to tell the male she is not interested which is understood by the male

Author: Lára

Lára graduated from Oxford University in Biological Sciences and has now been a science tutor working in the UK for several years. Lára has a particular interest in the area of infectious disease and epidemiology, and enjoys creating original educational materials that develop confidence and facilitate learning.

Join Save My Exams

Download all our Revision Notes as PDFs

Try a Free Sample of our revision notes as a printable PDF.

Join Now
Already a member?
Go to Top