Sally Le Page

biologist · youtuber · communicator

Mating  Drosophila melanogaster  (Photo by Amy Hong)

Mating Drosophila melanogaster (Photo by Amy Hong)

I am an evolutionary biologist interested in fly sex and behaviour, studying for my PhD at the University of Oxford.

I started my DPhil in Interdisciplinary Bioscience in 2014 also at Oxford University, researching sexual selection and kin selection under the supervision of Dr Stuart Wigby and Professor Stuart West.

In particular, I look at every biologist's favourite animal: the fruit fly Drosophila melanogaster, to see what it can tell us about evolutionary theory. Sexual selection says males should aggressively fight with each other over access to females, but kin selection says brothers should be nice to each other. So what happens if brothers are fighting over females? My research published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B in 2017 shows that indeed, brothers are nicer to females than unrelated males, but only if those brothers grew up together in the same environment as larvae.

I am now looking at kinship effects on other behaviours at different life stages of D. melanogaster, and will be finishing my DPhil in 2018.

I achieved a first class degree in Biological Sciences from Oxford University in 2014, where I researched the effects of the invasive Harlequin ladybird on our native ladybirds. I was fortunate enough to visit the rainforests of Madagascar and Borneo during my undergraduate years to learn and practise tropical forest ecology.


Le Page, S., Sepil, I., Flintham, E., Pizzari, T., Carazo, P., Wigby, S. 2017. Male relatedness and familiarity are required to modulate male-induced harm to females in Drosophila. Proc. Roy. Soc. London B. 284, 1860, 20170441. Open Access (

  • Presented as “Relatedness or familiarity? Which reduces female harm in Drosophila melanogaster?”
    • European Society of Evolutionary Biology, Switzerland, 2015 (Poster)
    • Evolution, USA, 2016 (Talk)
    • International Society for Behavioural Ecology, UK, 2016 (Talk)