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27 November 2013 12:59 pm ,
Vol. 342 ,
The new head of the National Center for Science Education promises to "fight the good fight" against attacks on...
Analyses of the H7N9 strains isolated from four new cases show that the virus is evolving rapidly, heightening anxiety...
In 2009, Jack Szostak shared a Nobel Prize for his part in discovering the role of telomeres, the end bits of...
Science has exposed a thriving academic black market in China involving shady agencies, corrupt scientists, and...
Paper-selling agencies flourish in the aura of reputable businesses. For some scientists, it may be difficult to tell...
Featuring the first lunar rover in 40 years, Chang'e-3 is seen as an important milestone on China's quest to send a...
Data collected by satellites and floating probes have chronicled a 2-decade rise in the temperature and thickness of a...
Cholesterol, the artery-clogging molecule that contributes to cardiovascular disease, has another nasty trick up its...
- 27 November 2013 12:59 pm , Vol. 342 , #6162
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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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