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Male fish deceive rivals about their top mate choice
Date:7/31/2008

epeated the experiment, this time including an "audience male" in half of the encounters. Those onlookers could watch, but they couldn't interfere.

In the first experiments, males more often directed their initial advances toward the larger of the two females, they found. In the presence of another male, however, the focal male's interest in the females suddenly slumped and, when it did make a move, it was initially directed toward the punier, apparently less-preferred female.

The researchers suggest that deceptive signals may be a powerful mating strategy used by males to lead competitors away from preferred females, thereby increasing the chance that the deceivers will father the offspring, they said.

" Future studies will need to evaluate the potential for male mate choice copying and deception in natural populations, because male mate choice copying cannot be evolutionarily stable if males always have an opportunity to deceive rivals," they said. After all, if males always attempt such deception, any competitor who didn't fall for the ruse would have easy access to the choicest mating partner.


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Contact: Cathleen Genova
cgenova@cell.com
617-397-2802
Cell Press
Source:Eurekalert

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