Some aging fish may switch mating habits

Nov 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: Corporate interest is a problem for research into open-access publishing

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Status shift for whale pelvic bones

Oct 29, 2014

For decades, scientists assumed that the relatively small pelvic bones found in whales were simple remnants of their land-dwelling past, "useless vestiges" that served no real purpose, akin to the human appendix ...

Evolution of competitiveness

Oct 29, 2014

Virtually all organisms in the living world compete with members of their own species. However, individuals differ strongly in how much they invest into their competitive ability. Some individuals are highly competitive and ...

A battle for ant sperm

Oct 28, 2014

And you thought the sexual battles between people could get weird and fierce? Try ants. In a new study, biologists at the University of Vermont have discovered some queen ants that make sexual bondage into ...

Secret wing colours attract female fruit flies

Oct 22, 2014

Bright colours appear on a fruit fly's transparent wings against a dark background as a result of light refraction. Researchers from Lund University in Sweden have now demonstrated that females choose a mate ...

Recommended for you

Family financing is anything but foolish

2 hours ago

Borrowing money from a family member or friend to start a business is often considered dangerous, both financially and emotionally, however new research conducted by an entrepreneurial expert at the University of Adelaide ...

How people respond to a catastrophe on social media

3 hours ago

When an earthquake hits, it makes more than just seismic waves. Extreme events such as earthquakes, tsunamis, and terrorist attacks also produce waves of immediate online social interactions, in the form ...

User comments : 0

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.