Drosophila melanogaster are found in sympatry with Drosophila simulans, and matings between the species produce nonfertile hybrid offspring at low frequency. Evolutionary theory predicts that females choose mates, so males should alter their behaviour in response to female cues. We show that D. melanogaster males quickly decrease courtship towards D. simulans females. Courtship levels are reduced within 5 min of exposure to a heterospecific female, and overall courtship is significantly lower than courtship towards conspecific females. To understand changes at the molecular level during mate choice, we performed microarray analysis on D. melanogaster males that courted heterospecific D. simulans females and found nine genes have altered expression compared with controls. In contrast, males that court conspecific females alter expression of at least 35 loci. The changes elicited by conspecific courtship likely modulate nervous system function to reinforce positive conspecific signals and dampen the response to heterospecific signals.