Boredom in the mating market: Guppies demonstrate why it’s good to stand out
Posted by admin on 14th May 2019
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If you’re looking for love, it pays to stand out from the crowd. Or at least that’s how it works in some parts of the animal kingdom. Scientists have found that in several species – green swordtail fish, Trinidadian guppies, fruit flies, Poecilia parae fish – ladies overwhelmingly go for the guy that looks different from the rest.

But the reason for this attraction to novelty has remained a mystery. So my colleagues and I used the Trinidadian guppy to investigate the psychology behind why many females have an affinity for the unusual.

Male features that attract females

The guppy has long been a workhorse for biologists like me who are interested in understanding the mating decisions that animals make and the evolutionary forces behind those decisions. Male guppies attempt to woo females using courtship dances that show off the elaborate color patterns adorning their bodies. The females of the species are color pattern connoisseurs, carefully choosing among their suitors based, in large part, on their visual appeal. This tendency has made the guppy an excellent model for studying mate choice.

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