A new study has found that females tend to have more sexual partners when they live in colder climates and are happier being monogamous when it is hotter.
The researchers, however, found that while the environment and temperature does have some influence, sexual behavior is largely determined by an individual's genes.
"These results are an important step towards understanding how genes and environment contribute towards behavior and ultimately how behavior affects the success or failure of natural populations," said lead researcher Michelle Taylor from University of Exeter in England.
They preserved a 'snapshot' of the genes available in the population by inbreeding flies for over 40 generations and then examined how many male partners each inbred female would accept when living at temperatures that were either warmer or cooler than their natural habitat.
The researchers found that more females accepted more partners when living in colder conditions, while more remained monogamous in hotter conditions. However, some females were always more likely to have more male partners than others even when living at conditions very different to their original habitat.
The findings demonstrated that although temperature can encourage females to change their behavior, ultimately the genetic background of each female remains the most important factor when predicting how many male partners a female will have in her life.
The study was published in the journal Behavioral Ecology.