Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Male Seahorses Like Big Mates

Date:
July 13, 2009
Source:
Springer Science+Business Media
Summary:
Male seahorses select partners based on their body size, according to a new study. Male seahorses have a clear agenda when it comes to selecting a mating partner: to increase their reproductive success. By being choosy and preferring large females, they are likely to have more and bigger eggs, as well as bigger offspring.

Male seahorses select partners based on their body size, according to a new study.
Credit: iStockphoto/Anastasia Tsoupa

Male seahorses have a clear agenda when it comes to selecting a mating partner: to increase their reproductive success. By being choosy and preferring large females, they are likely to have more and bigger eggs, as well as bigger offspring, according to Beat Mattle and Tony Wilson from the Zoological Museum at the University of Zurich in Switzerland.

Seahorses have a unique mode of reproduction: male pregnancy. Male seahorses provide all post-fertilization parental care, yet despite the high levels of paternal investment, they have long been thought to have conventional sex roles, with females choosing mating partners and males competing for their attention. However, clutch, egg and offspring size all increase with female body size in seahorses, suggesting that males may obtain fecundity benefits by mating with large-bodied females.

Mattle and Wilson investigated the mating behavior of the pot-bellied seahorse (Hippocampus abdominalis), concentrating on the importance of partner body size in mate selection. A total of 10 female and 16 male sexually mature seahorses, obtained from a captive breeding facility in

Tasmania, took part in the experiment. Individuals of both sexes were presented with potential mating partners of different sizes. Mating preferences were quantified in terms of time spent courting each potential partner.

Mattle and Wilson found striking differences in courtship behavior between male and female seahorses, with choosy males and indiscriminate females.

Male seahorses were highly active and showed a clear preference for larger partners. In contrast, females were significantly less active and showed ambiguous mating preferences.

The authors conclude: "The strong male preferences for large females demonstrated here suggest that sexual selection may act strongly on female body size in wild populations of H. abdominalis, consistent with predictions on the importance of female body size for reproductive output in this species."

Their findings have just been published online in Springer's journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Springer Science+Business Media. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Springer Science+Business Media. "Male Seahorses Like Big Mates." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 13 July 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090707094708.htm>.
Springer Science+Business Media. (2009, July 13). Male Seahorses Like Big Mates. ScienceDaily. Retrieved September 19, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090707094708.htm
Springer Science+Business Media. "Male Seahorses Like Big Mates." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/07/090707094708.htm (accessed September 19, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Friday, September 19, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

Chocolate Museum Opens in Brussels

AFP (Sep. 19, 2014) Considered a "national heritage" in Belgium, chocolate now has a new museum in Brussels. In a former chocolate factory, visitors to the permanent exhibition spaces, workshops and tastings can discover derivatives of the cocoa bean. Duration: 01:00 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Could Grief Affect The Immune Systems Of Senior Citizens?

Newsy (Sep. 19, 2014) The study found elderly people are much more likely to become susceptible to infection than younger adults going though a similar situation. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

Jury Delivers Verdict in Salmonella Trial

AP (Sep. 19, 2014) A federal jury has convicted three people in connection with an outbreak of salmonella poisoning five years ago that sickened hundreds of people and was linked to a number of deaths. (Sept. 19) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

Raw: Elephant Undergoes Surgery in Tbilisi Zoo

AP (Sep. 18, 2014) Grand the elephant has successfully undergone surgery to remove a portion of infected tusk at Tbilisi Zoo in Georgia. British veterinary surgeons used an electric drill to extract the infected piece. (Sept. 18) 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