It helps if they aren’t working for scale

Grrl Genius Cathryn Michon points out this curious fact about fish:

There’s hope for the less-than-perfect male — if you’re a swordtail fish, that is. As the size and age of female swordtail fish increases, so does the preference for males with asymmetrical markings, according to a new Ohio University study.

Molly Morris, associate professor of biological sciences, found that older female swordtails spent more time with asymmetrically striped males than symmetrical males when offered a choice.

The new study provides evidence that visual cues are not the only thing driving mate selection, however. The findings also suggest that “females may not have the same mating preferences throughout their lives,” Morris said.

My experience with fish consists mostly of throwing back the little ones (hardly ever caught any big ones) and the occasional trip to Captain D’s, so I won’t take exception to these findings, but I suspect they differ from humans in this regard: women, almost unanimously, demand men with a “sense of humor,” which undoubtedly explains all the girlfriends Gilbert Gottfried has stolen away from Eric Bana.

But the Grrl Genius demurs:

If a female human has learned ANYTHING AT ALL FROM HER HORRIBLE MISTAKES, her mating preferences are not the same throughout her life.

The article goes on to say that the older (smarter, more accomplished, sexier than ever!) female fish prefer the asymmetrically marked fish because, basically, it means these fish fellas have been kicked around a bit, and have survived.

In other words, the older females are no longer looking for guy fish who are, metaphorically speaking, wet around the ears.

Do we need schooling or something?





3 comments

  1. anon »

    16 May 2007 · 8:54 pm

    no, just proceed with a porpoise

  2. unimpressed »

    16 May 2007 · 11:45 pm

    Did you write this article just for the halibut?

  3. CGHill »

    17 May 2007 · 9:58 am

    Say what? Speak up, man. I’m hard of herring.

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