Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Ready when you are: first evidence that visual cues affect timing of sexual maturation

14.02.2007
Scientists from the Universities of Exeter and Glasgow today reveal how some females become sexually mature more quickly if they see attractive males.

Research published today in the Royal Society journal Biology Letters shows for the first time how the sight of physical ornamentation on another member of the group determines when an individual is ready to mate.

The researchers studied a captive population of green swordtail fish, a species native to Central America and popular in tropical aquariums. The green swordtail is named after the striking sword-like growth, which males develop on their tail-fin, so they appear larger and more attractive to females.

The females in the group that were shown males with long 'swords' reached sexual maturity earlier than those that were not by up to four months. Young males that were shown mature males with impressive 'swords' matured later than those that saw lower quality competitors. Both sexes are unconsciously using visual cues to increase their likely mating opportunities. For females, this means maximising the quality of potential mates and for males, this means delaying maturity until there is less competition from more attractive males.

'This is the first evidence that a species adjusts its rate of sexual maturation in response to visual cues. While our study focused on green swordtail fish, it seems unlikely that this attribute is limited to this one species,' said Dr Craig Walling of the University of Exeter’s School of Biosciences.

Previous studies have shown that the timing of sexual maturation can be determined by chemical stimulus from other individuals in a variety of species, including some mammals like rats and sheep. In this study the fish were kept in separate tanks so while they could see members of the opposite sex through the glass, they could not use other senses to respond to one another.

Dr Walling continues: ‘It’s well established that sexual maturation in swordtails is highly variable, occurring anywhere between four and 20 months of age even though they rarely live longer than two years. We were really surprised to find that visual cues can have such an effect on sexual maturation, which is so important to an individual’s reproductive success.’

Sarah Hoyle | alfa
Further information:
http://www.exeter.ac.uk

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Physics of bubbles could explain language patterns
25.07.2017 | University of Portsmouth

nachricht Obstructing the ‘inner eye’
07.07.2017 | Friedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Carbon Nanotubes Turn Electrical Current into Light-emitting Quasi-particles

Strong light-matter coupling in these semiconducting tubes may hold the key to electrically pumped lasers

Light-matter quasi-particles can be generated electrically in semiconducting carbon nanotubes. Material scientists and physicists from Heidelberg University...

Im Focus: Flexible proximity sensor creates smart surfaces

Fraunhofer IPA has developed a proximity sensor made from silicone and carbon nanotubes (CNT) which detects objects and determines their position. The materials and printing process used mean that the sensor is extremely flexible, economical and can be used for large surfaces. Industry and research partners can use and further develop this innovation straight away.

At first glance, the proximity sensor appears to be nothing special: a thin, elastic layer of silicone onto which black square surfaces are printed, but these...

Im Focus: 3-D scanning with water

3-D shape acquisition using water displacement as the shape sensor for the reconstruction of complex objects

A global team of computer scientists and engineers have developed an innovative technique that more completely reconstructs challenging 3D objects. An ancient...

Im Focus: Manipulating Electron Spins Without Loss of Information

Physicists have developed a new technique that uses electrical voltages to control the electron spin on a chip. The newly-developed method provides protection from spin decay, meaning that the contained information can be maintained and transmitted over comparatively large distances, as has been demonstrated by a team from the University of Basel’s Department of Physics and the Swiss Nanoscience Institute. The results have been published in Physical Review X.

For several years, researchers have been trying to use the spin of an electron to store and transmit information. The spin of each electron is always coupled...

Im Focus: The proton precisely weighted

What is the mass of a proton? Scientists from Germany and Japan successfully did an important step towards the most exact knowledge of this fundamental constant. By means of precision measurements on a single proton, they could improve the precision by a factor of three and also correct the existing value.

To determine the mass of a single proton still more accurate – a group of physicists led by Klaus Blaum and Sven Sturm of the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Closing the Sustainability Circle: Protection of Food with Biobased Materials

21.07.2017 | Event News

»We are bringing Additive Manufacturing to SMEs«

19.07.2017 | Event News

The technology with a feel for feelings

12.07.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA mission surfs through waves in space to understand space weather

25.07.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Strength of tectonic plates may explain shape of the Tibetan Plateau, study finds

25.07.2017 | Earth Sciences

The dense vessel network regulates formation of thrombocytes in the bone marrow

25.07.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>