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Large caps this spring's must-have for water fleas
Date:5/3/2010

ich is transparent and therefore invisible to the fish) offers protection from invertebrate predators.

Males not trendy

The males, on the other hand, don't seem at all bothered by current trends.

This may be to do with reproduction: given that the females carry the offspring, a dead female is a greater loss than a dead male. It is therefore more worthwhile for the females to invest in a look that will protect them against predators. Another explanation is that the males are driven by their need to find females to mate with as quickly as possible - and that swimming up to a female whilst wearing a large cap and long antennae requires too much energy, takes too long and entails a risk that other males will get there first.

Extravagant for summer

This also explains why the fashions are more extravagant in the summer than the winter. "When the water's cold, it's more difficult to move through, which makes it extra-hard to swim with accessories," says Lord, researcher at the Department of Zoology and expert in fashion trends for water fleas. "This is one of the explanations for why we find water fleas with extreme looks during the summer only, when the water is warm, but not during the rest of the year. Another explanation is that the summer brings more invertebrate predators."


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Contact: Hans Lord
hans.lord@zool.gu.se
46-031-174-940
University of Gothenburg
Source:Eurekalert  

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