In battle of the sexes, male fireflies may lie when it comes to love
This summer, in a darkened meadow west of Boston, Tufts University biologists are continuing to shine new light on the frenzied love life of fireflies. For the first time, researchers will explore the question of whether male fireflies flashing light – previously shown in one species to indicate superior physical and genetic quality – has evolved in another species to provide misinformation to prospective mates. In other words, are some male fireflies lying in order to find romance?
"If female mate choice is adaptive, we would expect that the more attractive males would provide females with greater material benefits and/or genetic benefits," said Sara Lewis, associate professor of biology in the School of Arts & Sciences. "On the other hand, sexual conflict theory predicts that male signals may evolve to provide uninformative or even misleading cues about male quality."
Kim Thurler | EurekAlert!
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