When it comes to strange studies, scientists usually take the prize. And today, Feb. 13, the day before Valentine’s Day, an ichthyologist researcher is a winner.
According to the Feb. 13, Huffington Post, ichthyology researcher, Clelia Gasparini, along with colleagues at Italy's University of Padua, hypothesized that "Males actively choose the social context that maximizes their relative attractiveness."
In other words, male guppies hang out with other male guppies that are less attractive, because as Gasparini puts it, "If you are surrounded by ugly friends, you look better."
Gasparina reported the findings in an article published Feb. 13 by Britain's Royal Society. The conclusion that “male guppies prefer to associate with their drab-colored counterparts when females are around” was drawn for an experiment that used a kind of “guppy dating game.”
Two bachelorette guppies were placed in an aquarium – one at each end. Bachelorette No.1 had two brightly colored males, one on each side. The other female, Bachelorette No. 2, had drab, uglier males by her side.
When a male guppy was placed in the middle of the tank, the lone, lookin’-for-love male guppies spent about 62 percent of their time hanging around Bachelorette No. 2’s side of the experimental setting.
Additionally, the group of guppy voyeurs identified a correlation between time spent with Bachelorette No. 2 and the male’s perceived unattractiveness. In other words, the uglier the fish, the less likely it would spent time trying to ease in alongside Bachelorette No. 1.
Then Gasparina took it a step further to eliminate the possibility that “attractive fish were more aggressive, or because predators were more likely to spot them,” the experiment was repeated minus the females. According to Gasparina, “the extra experiments showed that aggression or predators weren't a factor.”
And there you have it. Even male fish choose to hang around “ugly” buddies, so that they appear better looking.
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