Female mosquitofishes prefer well-fed males

January 12th, 2012 - 3:10 pm ICT by IANS  

Sydney, Jan 12 (IANS) Being well fed is a sign of prosperity, good health and security, not only among humans but also surprisingly among fish species. Female mosquitofish prefer males which are well fed, even if they are superficially identical to their poorly-fed cousins, reveals a study.

“Males similar in body size, but differing in developmental history, are not equally attractive to females,” said Andrew Kahn, doctoral candidate from the Australian National University (ANU) Research School of Biology, who led the study.

Mosquitofish are an invasive species in Australia, originally introduced to control mosquitoes, the journal Biology Letters reported.

In this study, Kahn and his colleagues investigated how development affected adult mating, according to a university statement.

“We gave female fish a choice between two full brothers who were born on the same day: one brother grew normally and the other had a period of poor nutrition and compensated for it by accelerating growth and delaying maturation,” said Kahn.

“The interesting thing was that the females seemed to be able to tell the difference between them and preferred those that had undergone normal growth,” he said.

“If males have undergone a period of poor nutrition they might be more susceptible to diseases which they could then pass on to the female. And by choosing males who have had a better development history, the offspring have a good chance of being better at getting food when they are young,” concluded Kahn.

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