Navigation Links
Male sex ornaments are fishing lures, literally

Talk about a bait-and-switch. Male representatives of the tropical fish known as swordtail characins have flag-like sex ornaments that catch mates just like the bait on a fishing rod would. What's more, a study reported online on July 12 in Current Biology, a Cell Press publication, shows just what any good fly-fisherman would know: Lures work best if they mimic the foods that fish most often eat. For some characins in the study, that means males are waving pretend ants around in hopes of getting a bite.

"This is a natural example of a fishing lure designed to maximize the chance to catch a fish," said Niclas Kolm of Uppsala University. "In this case, it is not just any fish, howeverit is a fish of the opposite sex that the lure is designed to catch."

The findings also lend support to the notion that sensory drive can encourage fish and other animals to diversify and ultimately to become separate species. Sensory drive is the idea that communication signals will work best when they are a good match for their surroundings and that they will diversify when those surroundings vary.

The characins living in Trinidad show considerable variation in the shape of male sex ornaments, and the researchers suspected that those differences might have something to do with what they eat. The fish mainly eat bugs, including ants, beetles, springtails, and fly larvae, which fall onto the water surface. In some populations, characins eat mostly ants, while in others they eat few.

Kolm's team now confirms that characins that mainly eat ants also carry sex ornaments that look more like ants. Studies in the lab also show that females who have been fed on ants prefer to bite at the ornaments of males from populations that mainly eat ants. That's presumably because those females rapidly develop a search image for ants.

The findings show that sensory drive can promote differences among populations based entirely on other species in the community, even when all other environmental factors are the same. They also blur the distinction between food and mate preferences, the researchers say.

In this case, it seems, the best mate is also the one that looks most like dinner.

Contact: Elisabeth Lyons
Cell Press

Related biology news :

1. Gray seals consume as much fish as the fishing industry catches
2. 1 solution to global overfishing found
Post Your Comments:
(Date:6/21/2016)... 2016 NuData Security announced today that Randy ... principal product architect and that Jon Cunningham ... development. Both will report directly to Christopher ... reflect NuData,s strategic growth in its product and ... demand and customer focus values. ...
(Date:6/9/2016)... innovation leader in attendance control systems is proud to announce the introduction of fingerprint ... sure the right employees are actually signing in, and to even control the opening ... ... ... Photo ...
(Date:6/2/2016)... The Department of Transport Management (DOTM) of ... Dollar project, for the , Supply and Delivery ... IT Infrastructure , to Decatur ... Identity Management Solutions. Numerous renowned international vendors participated in the ... was selected for the most compliant and innovative solution. The ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)...  The Prostate Cancer Foundation (PCF) is pleased to announce 24 ... for prostate cancer. Members of the Class of 2016 were selected from a ... Read More About the Class of 2016 PCF Young Investigators ... ... ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... ... June 23, 2016 , ... STACS DNA Inc., the sample tracking ... Arkansas State Crime Laboratory, has joined STACS DNA as a Field Application Specialist. ... Jocelyn Tremblay, President and COO of STACS DNA. “In further expanding our capacity as ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Andrew D Zelenetz ... Published recently in Oncology ... touchONCOLOGY, Andrew D Zelenetz , discusses the ... is placing an increasing burden on healthcare systems ... With the patents on many biologics expiring, interest ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... Windsor, Connecticut (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 ... ... will introduce a new line of intelligent tools designed, tuned and optimized exclusively ... place September 12–17 in Chicago. The result of a collaboration among several companies ...
Breaking Biology Technology: