Navigation Links
Sexually extravagant male birds age more rapidly, but try to hide it

For male houbara bustards sexual extravagance is the key to attracting mates in some of the world's harshest desert environments. However, new research in Ecology Letters reveals that males who perform the most extravagant sexual displays will suffer from premature biological aging and will pass their reproductive prime years earlier than their less ostentatious rivals.

Houbara bustards, Chlamydotis undulata, are found across the deserts of the Southern Hemisphere, from the Persian Gulf to the Gobi Desert, and for six months of the year the males spend their days in elaborate sexual displays aiming to charm passing females.

Research has demonstrated that the 'showiest' of these males produce the highest quality sperm when they mate.

However, new research reveals that this effort takes its toll. Extravagant males were found to pass their reproductive prime much sooner than their more subdued rivals and they began to produce 'burnt-out', smaller ejaculates, containing high numbers of dead and abnormal sperm.

"This is the bird equivalent of the posers who strut their stuff in bars and nightclubs every weekend," said lead author Dr Brian Preston from the University of Burgundy, France. "If the bustard is anything to go by, these same guys will be reaching for their toupees sooner than they'd like."

Dr Preston's team found that despite burning out, showy males continued their energetic sexual displays at near maximum levels.

"Male houbara bustards may help to explain how senescence, or biological aging, has evolved," concluded Preston. "Senescence is the deterioration that occurs with advancing age, yet the reason why an organism should senesce has been an evolutionary puzzle, as natural selection would be expected to 'weed-out' the genes responsible for these age-related declines."

"The bustard shows that an over-abundance of early reproductive effort comes at the cost of physiological declines later in life. This early versus late life trade-off can help explain why senescence occurs, and reveals the potential significance of sexual selection in explaining rates of aging."


Contact: Ben Norman

Related biology news :

1. Are female mountain goats sexually conflicted over size of mate?
2. CSHL-Mexican team coaxes sexually reproducing plant to brink of asexual reproduction
3. UCI scientists decode genomes of sexually precocious fruit flies
4. A more definitive test for a common sexually transmitted infection
5. 19th Conference of the International Society for Sexually Transmitted Disease Research
6. Captain Birdseyes robotic nose
7. Beavers: Dam good for songbirds
8. Genetic evidence for avian influenza movement from Asia to North America via wild birds
9. Practice as well as sleep may help birds learn new songs
10. The birds of Spain, in a digital ornithological encyclopedia
11. Shade coffee benefits more than birds
Post Your Comments:
Related Image:
Sexually extravagant male birds age more rapidly, but try to hide it
(Date:10/26/2015)... India , October 26, 2015 ... --> adds ... 2015 to 2021 as well as ... 2015-2019 research reports to its collection ... . --> ...
(Date:10/23/2015)... Research and Markets ( ) has ... Biometrics Market 2015-2019" report to their offering. ... global voice recognition biometrics market to grow at a ... --> --> The report, Global Voice ... an in-depth market analysis with inputs from industry experts. ...
(Date:10/22/2015)... (NASDAQ: SYNA ), a leading developer of human interface solutions, ... 2015. --> --> Net ... over the comparable quarter last year to $470.0 million. Net income ... $0.62 per diluted share. --> ... 2016 grew 39 percent over the prior year period to $56.9 ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/25/2015)... -- Studies reveal the differences in species ... the way for more effective treatment for one of the ... --> --> Gum disease ... cats, yet relatively little was understood about the bacteria associated ... conducted by researchers from the WALTHAM Centre for Pet Nutrition ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... the Organization of Black Aerospace Professionals (OPBAP) has been formalized with the signing ... AMA team leaders met with OPBAP leaders Capt. Karl Minter and Capt. Albert ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... , Nov. 24, 2015  Asia-Pacific (APAC) ... research organisation (CRO) market. The trend of outsourcing ... lower margins but higher volume share for the ... and scale, however, margins in the CRO industry ... (CRO) Market ( ), finds that ...
(Date:11/24/2015)... VANCOUVER , Nov. 24, 2015 /CNW/ - iCo ... ICOTF), today reported financial results for the quarter ... are expressed in Canadian dollars and presented under ... the United States ," said Andrew ... "These advancements regarding iCo-008 are not only value ...
Breaking Biology Technology: