Skip to main content

Thank you for visiting You are using a browser version with limited support for CSS. To obtain the best experience, we recommend you use a more up to date browser (or turn off compatibility mode in Internet Explorer). In the meantime, to ensure continued support, we are displaying the site without styles and JavaScript.

  • News & Views
  • Published:

Evolutionary biology

Brotherly love benefits females

Mating competition between males often has harmful consequences for females. But it seems that fruit flies alter their behaviour among kin, with brothers being less aggressive and females reproducing for longer as a result. See Letter p.672

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution

Access options

Buy this article

Prices may be subject to local taxes which are calculated during checkout

Figure 1: Kindness to kin reduces harm to females.


  1. Arnqvist, G. & Rowe, L. Sexual Conflict (Princeton Univ. Press, 2005).

    Book  Google Scholar 

  2. Morrow, E. H., Arnqvist, G. & Pitnick, S. Behav. Ecol. 14, 802–806 (2003).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Carazo, P., Tan, C. K. W., Allen, F., Wigby, S. & Pizzari, T. Nature 505, 672–675 (2014).

    Article  ADS  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  4. Rankin, D. J., Dieckmann, U. & Kokko, H. Am. Nat. 177, 780–791 (2011).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  5. Hamilton, W. D. J. Theor. Biol. 7, 1–16, 17–52 (1964).

    Article  ADS  CAS  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  6. Pizzari, T. & Gardner, A. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 367, 2314–2323 (2012).

    Article  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

  7. Solomon, N. G. & French, J. A. (eds) Cooperative Breeding in Mammals (Cambridge Univ. Press, 2007).

    Google Scholar 

  8. Concannon, M. R., Stein, A. C. & Uy, J. A. C. Mol. Ecol. 21, 1477–1486 (2012).

    Article  PubMed  Google Scholar 

  9. Partridge, L. & Fowler, K. J. Insect Physiol. 36, 419–425 (1990).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Lüpold, S., Manier, M. K., Ala-Honkola, O., Belote, J. M. & Pitnick, S. Behav. Ecol. 22, 184–191 (2011).

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Sirot, L. K., Wolfner, M. F. & Wigby, S. Proc. Natl Acad. Sci. USA 108, 9922–9926 (2011).

    Article  ADS  CAS  PubMed  PubMed Central  Google Scholar 

Download references

Author information

Authors and Affiliations


Corresponding authors

Correspondence to Scott Pitnick or David W. Pfennig.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Pitnick, S., Pfennig, D. Brotherly love benefits females. Nature 505, 626–627 (2014).

Download citation

  • Published:

  • Issue Date:

  • DOI:


Quick links

Nature Briefing

Sign up for the Nature Briefing newsletter — what matters in science, free to your inbox daily.

Get the most important science stories of the day, free in your inbox. Sign up for Nature Briefing