Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Female seahorses play the field?

Seahorse relationships are strained by female promiscuity, a surprising finding for animals thought to mate for life.

It seems that the males, burdened with pregnancy, birth and child-rearing, stay true to their mates. Female seahorses, with fewer family obligations, are more likely to be engage in promiscuis sexual behavior and mate with other males.

Scientists have enlisted aquarium voyeurs in the study of the sex lives of seahorses. Seahorses were fitted with tiny color-coded necklaces and aquarium visitors are asked to watch seahorses mate and report on exactly who is mating with whom at Sea Life Centers in the UK and Germany. Things to watch for include colour-changing, twining tails and leaning towards each other quivering.

When aquarium visitors find out about this project, "their curiosity is immediately aroused and they seem happy to watch for quite long periods to see if there's any hanky-panky going on," said biologist Stefan Inselmann.

No comments: