How sex-starved males bag females when there aren’t too many around

Thursday, November 11, 2010

WASHINGTON - Research from Monash University has indicated that should the should the male Australian desert goby fish find himself infrequently in contact with females, he will pursue any he finds with zeal, regardless of size.

They are surprisingly strategic when it comes to courtship, adapting their tactics depending on the frequency of their contact with females.

Doctors Andreas Svensson, Topi Lehtonen and Bob Wong said that when males encountered females more frequently, the males were far more discriminating about how much effort they put into courting larger females over others.

“By contrast, males will court females vigorously irrespective of her attractiveness if passing females are few and far between,” Wong said.

Wong said the male goby fish establish nests under rocks, try to attract passing females using colourful courtship displays and ultimately become the sole guardians of the eggs.

“These findings are important because, for a long time, females were typically regarded as the more discerning sex when it comes to choosing a potential mate. Here, we show that males, too, can be highly picky and are much more tactical in whom they choose to court,” Wong said.

The find is published in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology. (ANI)

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