Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Ugly Betty forced to aim for Average Joe, house sparrow study finds

Date:
August 28, 2010
Source:
BioMed Central
Summary:
Less-pretty female house sparrows tend to lower their aim when selecting a mate. Addressing the lack of studies on condition-dependency of female mate choice, evolutionary biologists found that female sparrows of a low quality prefer males of an equally low quality.

This is a sparrow.
Credit: Griggio et al., BMC Evolutionary Biology

Less-pretty female house sparrows tend to lower their aim when selecting a mate. Addressing the lack of studies on condition-dependency of female mate choice, researchers writing in the open access journal BMC Evolutionary Biology found that female sparrows of a low quality prefer males of an equally low quality.

Researchers from the Konrad Lorenz Institute for Ethology in Vienna studied sexual selection preferences in the common house sparrow. Though it has always been assumed that females will want to choose the best possible mate, in terms of reproductive and genetic fitness, Matteo Griggio and Herbert Hoi have found that, in fact, unattractive females dare not dream of mating with males who are considered out of their league.

In sparrow terms, males who have a large patch of dark-colored feathers on the chest -- the "bib" or "badge" -- are considered the most attractive. The bigger the badge, the more likely the male is to have the best territory in which to rear offspring, so if females were to believe that size matters, the big-badged males should be irresistible. In order to investigate female preference, the research team randomly divided ninety-six male house sparrows in to two groups -- those with an artificially enlarged black throat patch and those with an average patch. By observing the behavior of 85 different females it was possible to define a 'preferred male' as the male with whom the female spent most of her time.

"Actually, we found that overall, female sparrows don't have a preference for badge size in males," Griggio explains, "but we did find that less attractive females -- those with a low weight and poor condition -- have a clear preference for less attractive males with smaller or average-sized badges." Rather than not find a partner, unattractive females will simply settle for an unattractive male.

Griggio continues: "There is some good news for the plainer females though -- while they may be forced to settle for less dominant males with small chest badges, these males have been shown to invest more time in parental care than their good-looking counterparts."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by BioMed Central. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Matteo Griggio and Herbert Hoi. Only females in poor condition display a clear preference and prefer males with an average badge. BMC Evolutionary Biology, 2010; (in press) [link]

Cite This Page:

BioMed Central. "Ugly Betty forced to aim for Average Joe, house sparrow study finds." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 August 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100827082151.htm>.
BioMed Central. (2010, August 28). Ugly Betty forced to aim for Average Joe, house sparrow study finds. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100827082151.htm
BioMed Central. "Ugly Betty forced to aim for Average Joe, house sparrow study finds." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/08/100827082151.htm (accessed July 31, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

Visitors Feel Part of the Pack at Wolf Preserve

AP (July 31, 2014) Seacrest Wolf Preserve on the northern Florida panhandle allows more than 10,000 visitors each year to get up close and personal with Arctic and British Columbian Wolves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

Florida Panther Rebound Upsets Ranchers

AP (July 31, 2014) With Florida's panther population rebounding, some ranchers complain the protected predators are once again killing their calves. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

Dangerous Bacteria Kills One in Florida

AP (July 31, 2014) Sarasota County, Florida health officials have issued a warning against eating raw oysters and exposing open wounds to coastal and inland waters after a dangerous bacteria killed one person and made another sick. (July 31) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

Raw: Thousands Flocking to German Crop Circle

AP (July 30, 2014) Thousands of people are trekking to a Bavarian farmer's field to check out a mysterious set of crop circles. (July 30) 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