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Female fish dance for love

In one cichlid species, it's not just the males who put on a show to attract mates

Vanessa Schipani
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.

A cichlid female displays her purple-shaded pelvic fin.
Image: Baldauf et al., BMC Evolutionary Biology
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...
Pelvicachromis taeniatusThe Scientist



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