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
WAKE-UP provides new treatment option for stroke patients | International study led by UKE
17.05.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf
First form of therapy for childhood dementia CLN2 developed
25.04.2018 | Universitätsklinikum Hamburg-Eppendorf
The more electronics steer, accelerate and brake cars, the more important it is to protect them against cyber-attacks. That is why 15 partners from industry and academia will work together over the next three years on new approaches to IT security in self-driving cars. The joint project goes by the name Security For Connected, Autonomous Cars (SecForCARs) and has funding of €7.2 million from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research. Infineon is leading the project.
Vehicles already offer diverse communication interfaces and more and more automated functions, such as distance and lane-keeping assist systems. At the same...
A research team led by physicists at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) has developed molecular nanoswitches that can be toggled between two structurally different states using an applied voltage. They can serve as the basis for a pioneering class of devices that could replace silicon-based components with organic molecules.
The development of new electronic technologies drives the incessant reduction of functional component sizes. In the context of an international collaborative...
At the LASYS 2018, from June 5th to 7th, the Laser Zentrum Hannover e.V. (LZH) will be showcasing processes for the laser material processing of tomorrow in hall 4 at stand 4E75. With blown bomb shells the LZH will present first results of a research project on civil security.
At this year's LASYS, the LZH will exhibit light-based processes such as cutting, welding, ablation and structuring as well as additive manufacturing for...
There are videos on the internet that can make one marvel at technology. For example, a smartphone is casually bent around the arm or a thin-film display is rolled in all directions and with almost every diameter. From the user's point of view, this looks fantastic. From a professional point of view, however, the question arises: Is that already possible?
At Display Week 2018, scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research IAP will be demonstrating today’s technological possibilities and...
So-called quantum many-body scars allow quantum systems to stay out of equilibrium much longer, explaining experiment | Study published in Nature Physics
Recently, researchers from Harvard and MIT succeeded in trapping a record 53 atoms and individually controlling their quantum state, realizing what is called a...
25.05.2018 | Event News
02.05.2018 | Event News
13.04.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Event News
25.05.2018 | Machine Engineering
25.05.2018 | Life Sciences