Researchers have long thought of males as the lone dancers in courtship display, leaving females to judge--but in one species of cichlid fish, the opposite occurs, according to new research.
In this species, females seek to impress potential mates as well by fanning out their large, violet pelvic fin. The linkurl:results,;http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2148/10/301/abstract published this month in BMC Evolutionary Biology, also suggest male choice can drive females to evolve exaggerated traits, a finding that disputes the traditional belief that sexual selection is a one-way road allowing only females to affect male appearance. This paper "is certainly a significant step ahead in our understanding of the evolution of female ornamentation," linkurl:Andrea Pilastro,;http://www.bio.unipd.it/%7Epilastro/ evolutionary biologist at the University of Padua in Italy, said in an email to The Scientist. Scientists have widely studied the effect of female choice on...
A cichlid female displays her purple-shaded pelvic fin.
Image: Baldauf et al., BMC Evolutionary Biology
Pelvicachromis taeniatusThe Scientist
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