Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Female Guppies Risk Death To Avoid Sexual Harassment

Date:
August 11, 2008
Source:
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Summary:
Sexual harassment from male guppies is so bad that long-suffering females will risk their lives to escape it, according to new research.

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.
Credit: Image courtesy of Natural Environment Research Council

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.”

This work was funded by the Natural Environment Research Council.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Darden et al. Male harassment drives females to alter habitat use and leads to segregation of the sexes. Biology Letters, 2008; 1 (-1): -1 DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2008.0308

Cite This Page:

Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). "Female Guppies Risk Death To Avoid Sexual Harassment." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 11 August 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080806154758.htm>.
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). (2008, August 11). Female Guppies Risk Death To Avoid Sexual Harassment. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080806154758.htm
Natural Environment Research Council (NERC). "Female Guppies Risk Death To Avoid Sexual Harassment." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/08/080806154758.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

Raw: Leopard Bites Man in India

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur on Monday when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) Drake University hosts 35th annual Beautiful Bulldog Contest. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

805-Pound Shark Caught Off The Coast Of Florida

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) One Florida fisherman caught a 805-pound shark off the coast of Florida earlier this month. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

AP (Apr. 21, 2014) Breakfast is now being served with a side of sticker shock. The cost of morning staples like bacon, coffee and orange juice is on the rise because of global supply problems. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins