Sexual harassment from male guppies is so bad that long-suffering females will risk their lives to escape it, according to new research from Dr. Safi Darden and Dr. Darren Croft from Bangor University.
Male guppies spend most of their time displaying their brightly-coloured bodies to females in the hope of attracting a mate. The choosy females will usually only mate with the most attractive, high-quality males to ensure the production of strong offspring. If his courtship display is rejected, the male will often attempt to sneak a mating with his chosen female when she is not looking.
Avoiding the relentless male harassment uses up precious resources such as time and energy. This in turn reduces the time available for food foraging, and energy for growth and reproduction.
The researchers studied guppy behaviour in a Trinidad river and found that the females are segregating the sexes by choosing to spend time in areas where there are high numbers of predators. The brightly-coloured males are far more likely to attract the predators than the dull brown females, so they keep their distance.
Dr Croft explains, “Much like humans, female guppies produce relatively few eggs and give birth to live offspring. They don’t lay their eggs for a seasonal spawning but keep them inside their bodies where they are fertilised by the males. Because they are not reliant on seasons, the females have a continuous battle to keep the males at bay – so they are resorting to extreme measures to avoid unwelcome attention.”
Funded by the Natural Environment Research Council.
Article: Safi Darden and Dr Darren Croft, ‘Male harassment drives females to alter habitat use and leads to segregation of the sexes’, Biology Letters.
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- The Real Meaning Of The Blue Black White Gold Dress
- How Mr. Spock Changed Our Perception Of Science
- How Would Life Develop If Fundamental Physics Constants Were Different?
- Whole Food Diet Linked To Greater Cognitive Dysfunction In Alzheimer’s
- It's Life, Jim, But Not As We Know It
- Men With Short Index Fingers And Long Ring Fingers Are Nicer To Women
- "You're an idiot. Ma Bell was protected by the ICC. Regulations protected Ma Bell’s monopoly by..."
- "Everything you just said was false...."
- "Anthropogenic climate change has become more local in Australia anyway over the last three decades..."
- "It's an ambiguity illusion, which is not an optical illusion but colloquially called such. Google..."
- "And people wonder why Elizabeth Warren was claiming a tie to those with First Nation status? It's..."