- News Home
5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
Thousands of scientists in the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) are about to lose their jobs as a result of the...
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
- About Us
ScienceShot: Sex for Dinner
12 July 2012 12:00 pm
The way to a woman's heart is through her stomach—at least for the swordtail characin. When a male of this tropical freshwater species (Corynopoma riisei) wants to mate, he dangles an "ornament"—a flag-like appendage normally hidden close to his body—in front of his desired date. The ornaments come in different shapes and sizes, and researchers have suspected since the 1960s that the shapes reflect the females' preferred foods. Now a team of researchers has confirmed this by studying female diet and male ornament variation in different populations of the fish. Ant-like ornaments (pictured) were a hit among the females who most heavily fed on ants that fell into the streams and rivers where the fish live; oval, egg-like ornaments were popular with females that preferred beetles and beetle larvae. The scientists were even able to reproduce the food-based attraction in the lab by introducing ants into the diets of aquarium-raised females who were fed flake food all their lives. After 10 days on the ant diet, these females preferred the ant-like ornaments to the beetle-like ones. The discovery, published online today in Current Biology, represents the first known example of males of any species evolving to look like dinner to better their chances with the opposite sex.
See more ScienceShots.