In the absence of phenotypic traits of female flies, and when given a choice between light emitting diodes that emitted either constant light or light pulsed at a frequency of 110, 178, 250, or 290 Hz, males show a strong preference for the 178-Hz pulsed light, which most closely approximates the wing beat frequency of prospective mates. The system depends upon the sex- and age-specific frequencies of light flashes reflecting off moving wings, and the ability of male flies to distinguish between the frequency of light flashes produced by rival males and prospective mates.Our findings imply that insect photoreceptors with fast processing speed may not only support agile flight with advanced maneuverability but may also play a supreme role in mate recognition.
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