Some aging fish may switch mating habits

November 15, 2005

Ohio University scientists say they have determined that as female swordtail fish age, they change their mating habits.

Lead researcher Molly Morris, an associated professor of biological sciences at the Athens, Ohio, school, said as the females grow older and larger, they spend more time with asymmetrically striped males than with symmetrical males, when offered a choice.

The findings are the first to contradict previous studies indicating females tend to prefer males with symmetrical markings, which in this case are black bars on each side of the body. Scientists have suggested symmetrical markings are a sign of genetic fitness.

The study provides evidence that visual cues are not the only thing driving mate selection. The findings also suggest "females may not have the same mating preferences throughout their lives," Morris said.

Co-authors of the study were post-doctoral fellow Oscar Rios-Cardenas and undergraduate student Mary Scarlett Tudor.

Funded by the National Science Foundation and the Research Challenge Program at Ohio University, the paper has been published online in Biology Letters and will appear in next month's print edition.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

Explore further: Bioluminescence in lanternsharks appears to help with reproduction

Related Stories

Exploring evolution via electric fish hybrid zone

July 21, 2015

Michigan State University is using a $700,000 National Science Foundation grant to study how electric fish signals evolve, research that could offer insights into the evolution of new species.

Selfishness lasts a lifetime, according to mongoose study

July 21, 2015

Researchers studying wild banded mongooses in Uganda have discovered that these small mammals have either cooperative or selfish personalities which last for their entire lifetime. The findings of the 15-year study are published ...

Recommended for you

Drought's lasting impact on forests

July 30, 2015

In the virtual worlds of climate modeling, forests and other vegetation are assumed to bounce back quickly from extreme drought. But that assumption is far off the mark, according to a new study of drought impacts at forest ...

How a single molecule turns one immune cell into another

July 30, 2015

All it takes is one molecule to reprogram an antibody-producing B cell into a scavenging macrophage. This transformation is possible, new evidence shows, because the molecule (C/EBPa, a transcription factor) "short-circuits" ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.