Guppies love ugly friends, to look pretty

2013-02-13 18:12
When it comes to mating, guppies treasure their ugly friends. They make them look good by comparison. (Clelia Gasparini, AP)

When it comes to mating, guppies treasure their ugly friends. They make them look good by comparison. (Clelia Gasparini, AP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

London - When it comes to mating, guppies treasure their ugly friends - because they look so good by comparison.

An article published on Wednesday by Britain's Royal Society says that male guppies prefer to associate with their drab-coloured counterparts when females were around.

"Males actively choose the social context that maximizes their relative attractiveness," the article said. Or, as lead author Clelia Gasparini put it, "If you are surrounded by ugly friends, you look better."

Gasparini and her colleagues at Italy's University of Padua built their theory on a kind of guppy dating game. An aquarium was set up with one female in partition on either end. Guppy bachelorette No 1 had two attractive, brightly-coloured males placed on either side of her. Guppy bachelorette No 2 was stuck with uglier, drab-coloured fish.

When a male guppy was put in the middle of the tank, and given the choice of which female to sidle up to, Bachelorette No 2 was the more popular pick, with male guppies spending about 62% of their time hanging around her side of the aquarium.

What's more, the researchers found that the time guppies spent with bachelorette No 2 correlated with their unattractiveness. The uglier the guppy, the less likely it was that he would hang around the brightly coloured fish placed next to bachelorette No 1.

Because it could be argued that that guppies avoided their brightly coloured pals because attractive fish were more aggressive, or because predators were more likely to spot them, the experiment was repeated. Researchers ran it without any females, and again with the lights in the male enclosures turned down so that the test guppies couldn't see them.

Gasparini, who's now a post-doctoral researcher at the University of Western Australia, said the extra experiments helped confirm her theory. But she was cagey when asked whether the results from the aquarium could be applied to a night out at the bar.

"Usually in my research we don't really compare humans and animals," she said, chuckling.

Oh, come on. If this works for guppies - small fish popular for use in home aquariums - shouldn't it work for guys?

She admitted that she had seen this same tactic work "pretty well" for humans.

If you hang out "with someone better looking than you, sure, you have less chance to be picked up," she said. "If you want to impress someone, do you think you will look more attractive in comparison with Mr Bean or George Clooney?"

In a more serious moment, Gasparini said the comparison between guppies and humans was hard to resist. But human dating tricks were far harder to measure.

A subject for further study, then.

- SAPA
Read more on:    italy  |  research  |  marine life
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
2 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Sport
 

Hottie of the day: Nicole Meyer!

Nicole is the cover girl for the 2014 edition of SA Swimsuit! Check out some smoking hot pics of here here.

 
 

Men24.com

11 things men don’t know about their clothes
Hilarious mortal kombat elevator prank!
This is how the Top Gear presenters spend their £55 million!
Thirty and still single? There’s hope!

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 60% on toys!

Don’t miss out on this hot offer, save up to 60% on toys. While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

It may be hard to stay cool, calm and collected. Your emotions can get quite heated in the moment. You may benefit from finding a...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.