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Homosexual behavior increases molly fish's chances of mating

By Leonard Ho - Posted Dec 14, 2012 07:00 AM
German researchers have discovered something unexpected: Male mollies who engage in homosexual behavior increase their chances of attracting and mating with female onlookers.
Homosexual behavior increases molly fish's chances of mating

Male mollies put a new spin on the definition of "wing man."

In a study published this week in the scientific journal Royal Society Biology Papers, University of Frankfurt researchers uncovered an interesting and unexpected reproductive behavior employed by male Atlantic Mollies (Poecilia mexicana) to increase their sex appeal.  Non-dominant male mollies will engage in homosexual acts to make themselves more attractive to onlooking females.  The scientists discovered female mollies will develop preferences for males they normally wouldn't be attracted to (smaller, less colorful males) if the females see males sexually interacting with other mollies, even if the sexual advances are towards other males.

Male Atlantic Mollies are known to nip the genital area of females to demonstrate their fitness to mate.  Voyeuristic female mollies develop sexual preferences for males seen performing this mating ritual - a phenomenon described as "mate choice copying."

But the new study found that females still developed the same attraction to males who performed this courtship act on other males.  Said the researchers: "P. mexicana females increase their preference for initially non-preferred males not only after observing those males interacting sexually with females, but also when having observed them initiating homosexual behaviour."

Author: Leonard Ho
Location: Southern California

I'm a passionate aquarist of over 30 years, a coral reef lover, and the blog editor for Advanced Aquarist. While aquarium gadgets interest me, it's really livestock (especially fish), artistry of aquariums, and "method behind the madness" processes that captivate my attention.


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