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17 April 2014 12:48 pm ,
Vol. 344 ,
Officials last week revealed that the U.S. contribution to ITER could cost $3.9 billion by 2034—roughly four times the...
An experimental hepatitis B drug that looked safe in animal trials tragically killed five of 15 patients in 1993. Now,...
Using the two high-quality genomes that exist for Neandertals and Denisovans, researchers find clues to gene activity...
A new report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) concludes that humanity has done little to slow...
Astronomers have discovered an Earth-sized planet in the habitable zone of a red dwarf—a star cooler than the sun—500...
Three years ago, Jennifer Francis of Rutgers University proposed that a warming Arctic was altering the behavior of the...
- 17 April 2014 12:48 pm , Vol. 344 , #6181
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ScienceShot: Distracted Female Fish Lose Weight
31 January 2012 7:01 pm
Flashy colors and elaborate dances help the males of many species score a mate. But sometimes these showy displays hurt females, according to a study published online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. The new work concerns splitfins (Goodeidae), a family of small North American fish whose males sport a vertical yellow stripe on their tail, which they wave to mimic wriggling prey. The ruse attracts females—but it also causes them to lose weight. When the researchers presented pregnant (and thus hungry) females from six species of splitfins with both yummy insect larvae and males from two of the most flamboyant splitfin species—the polka-dot splitfin (Chapalichthys pardalis) and the butterfly splitfin (Ameca splendens)—the females from all six species were so distracted by the males' tails that individuals from five of the species lost weight over the 1-week trials. Females that lost the least amount of weight were from species in which males sported more conspicuous tails. The authors speculate that this was because the females had learned to separate sexual attraction and feeding behavior over time, preventing them from confusing fake food for the real thing.
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