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Worm nerve responses for good and bad
Studies on a tiny soil worm help explain how animal nervous systems translate external signals as 'good' or 'bad' in order to elicit the appropriate response. (2020-03-13)

Male size advantage drives evolution of sex change in reef fish
Some species of fish, notably parrotfish and wrasses living on coral reefs, change their biological sex as they age, beginning life as females and later becoming functionally male. New work from UC Davis shows that this sequential hermaphroditism evolves when bigger males gain an advantage in reproductive success -- for example by defending a permanent mating territory. (2020-03-09)

What women really want
Earlier research purported to show links between a woman's cycle and how attracted she was to men's behavior. Research at the University of Göttingen questions this. It showed shifts in women's cycles did not affect their preferences for men's behavior. Researchers found, however, that when fertile, women found all men slightly more attractive. Irrespective of their cycle, flirtier men were evaluated as more attractive for sexual relationships but less for long-term relationships. Results appeared in Psychological Science. (2020-03-06)

Swamp wallabies conceive new embryo before birth -- a unique reproductive strategy
Reproduction specialists from the Leibniz Institute for Zoo and Wildlife Research (Leibniz-IZW), Germany, and the University of Melbourne, Australia, recently demonstrated that swamp wallabies ovulate, mate and form a new embryo before the birth of the previous offspring. They thereby continuously support embryos and young at different development stages before and after birth. (2020-03-02)

Monogamous female sea turtles? Yes, thanks to sperm storage
Female sea turtles mate multiply to ensure fertilization. A study of nesting loggerhead female sea turtles in southwest Florida used genotyping to uncover how many fathers were represented in their nests. Surprisingly, scientists found that 75 percent of the female sea turtles had mated singly. No male was represented in more than one female's clutches. Findings provide insights into the relative numbers of males present in the breeding population, which are hard to get because males never come ashore. (2020-02-27)

Zoology: Biofluorescence may be widespread among amphibians
Biofluorescence, where organisms emit a fluorescent glow after absorbing light energy, may be widespread in amphibians including salamanders and frogs, according to a study in Scientific Reports. Biofluorescence had previously been observed in only one salamander and three frog species. (2020-02-27)

Mosaic evolution painted lorikeets a rainbow of color
A new study examines how color evolved in one of the flashiest groups of parrots -- Australasian lorikeets -- finding that different plumage patches on the birds evolved independently. The study helps explain why it's possible for the birds' faces and front sides to display a dazzling variety of colors -- from vibrant ultraviolet blue only visible to other birds to deep crimson and black -- while their wings and backs tend to be the same color: green. (2020-02-26)

Scientists finally figure out how millipedes actually do it
Scientists have a pretty good handle on how the birds and the bees work, but it comes to mating, almost all millipedes have been a mystery -- until now. For the first time, researchers have puzzled out how these tiny creatures' complex genitalia work, thanks to new imaging techniques and blacklights that make the different tissues glow. (2020-02-13)

'Ghost' of mysterious hominin found in West African genomes
Ancestors of modern West Africans interbred with a yet-undiscovered species of archaic human, similar to how ancient Europeans mated with Neanderthals, researchers report. Their work helps inform how archaic hominins added to the genetic variation of present-day Africans, which has been poorly understood, in part because of the sparse fossil record in Africa. (2020-02-12)

Maintaining social relationships is important for more than finding a mate
Maintaining social relationships beyond the immediate family group and neighbors is important for more than finding a mate. Archbold Biological Station researchers compare the social behavior of breeding Florida scrub-jays and non-breeding helpers, who assist in rearing the offspring of the breeding pair. Helpers interact with many individuals, connecting otherwise unconnected groups. Breeders interact with fewer individuals, who all tend to interact directly. In a year when many breeders forwent reproduction, their social behavior resembled that of helpers. (2020-02-12)

Butterflies can acquire new scent preferences and pass these on to their offspring
Two studies from the National University of Singapore demonstrate that insects can learn from their previous experiences and adjust their future behaviour for survival and reproduction. (2020-02-03)

Sex pheromone named for Jane Austen character alters brain in mouse courtship
The infamously aloof Mr. Darcy had a hard time attracting members of the opposite sex in Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice.' But the same cannot be said for a sex pheromone named for him, called darcin. In a new study, a Columbia University-led team of researchers has now uncovered the process by which this protein takes hold in the brains of female mice, giving brain cells the power to assess the mouse's sexual readiness and help her select a mate. (2020-01-29)

Male songbirds can't survive on good looks alone, says a new study
Brightly colored male songbirds not only have to attract the female's eye, but also make sure their sperm can last the distance, according to new research. (2020-01-15)

First come, first bred
Arriving early in the breeding area is crucial for successful reproduction also in non-migratory birds. (2020-01-13)

Using light to learn
Maintaining long-term memories requires environmental light, according to research in fruit flies recently published in JNeurosci. (2020-01-13)

Caffeine may offset some health risks of diets high in fat, sugar
In a study of rats, University of Illinois scientists found that caffeine limited weight gain and cholesterol production, despite a diet that was high in fat and sugar. Lead author was U. of I. alumna Fatima J. Zapata. Co-authors were nutritional sciences professor Manabu T. Nakamura; Elvira Gonzalez de Mejia, director of the Division of Nutritional Sciences; and animal sciences professor Jan E. Novakofski. (2019-12-19)

Leaving home is beneficial for male squirrels but not for females, study shows
In the world of squirrels, moving away from your home turf has better outcomes for males than for females, according to a new study by University of Alberta ecologists. (2019-12-13)

Female fish can breed a new species if they aren't choosy about who is Mr. Right
Female fish can breed a new species if they aren't choosy about who is Mr. Right. Fish will mate with a species outside their own if the male's colouring is attractive enough or if the female can't see him properly, according to new research. Such 'mistakes' in mate choice can lead to the evolution of new species, an international team of scientists found after they analysed the DNA of more than 400 cichlid fish. (2019-12-03)

Caring for family is what motivates people worldwide
A study of more than 7,000 people from 27 countries, led by scientists in the Arizona State University Department of Psychology, has found that what motivates people the most is caring for their family. For 40 years researchers have focused on romantic and sexual partners, but these motivations were rated as a relatively low priority for most study participants, most of the time. Caring for family members was associated with well-being, and seeking romantic partners was associated with unhappiness. (2019-11-26)

Should scientists change the way they view (and study) same sex behavior in animals?
In a new article, researchers from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies argue these behaviors may actually have been part of the original, ancestral condition in animals and have persisted because they have few -- if any -- costs and perhaps some important benefits. (2019-11-18)

Sounds of mosquito mating rituals could lead to quieter drones
Mosquitoes flap their wings not just to stay aloft but for two other critical purposes: to generate sound and to point that buzz in the direction of a potential mate, researchers at Johns Hopkins University have discovered. Their findings about the aerodynamics of mosquito wings could have implications for building quieter drones and for devising nontoxic methods to trap and exterminate the pests. (2019-11-07)

How much do we lie when we have sex on the brain?
If you've long suspected that people fudge the truth when it comes to presenting themselves to a potential partner, here's the research to back you up. (2019-11-04)

Bird bacteria is key to communication and mating
Birds use odor to identify other birds, and researchers at Michigan State University have shown that if the bacteria that produce the odor is altered, it could negatively impact a bird's ability to communicate with other birds or find a mate. (2019-10-29)

Pitt study: Sexual selection alone could spark formation of new species
Because of imprinted preferences, strawberry poison frog females mate more with similar colored males, and less with differently colored males. Over time, the behavior could lead to two color types becoming separate species. (2019-10-17)

Researchers solve puzzle about link between genetic mutations, mating in fruit flies
More than a century ago, early geneticists showed that the inheritance of a single mutation by fruit flies can change the insect's body color and simultaneously disrupt its mating behavior. (2019-10-15)

Investing in love and affection pays off for species that mate for life
A new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by biologists at the University of Chicago and the University of North Carolina explains how sexual cooperation and bonding evolves in bird species that form pair bonds. (2019-10-14)

Are humans preventing flies from eavesdropping?
Soundscapes may influence the evolution of tightly co-evolved host-parasitoid relationships. Both traffic noise and natural ocean noise were found to inhibit parasitoid Ormia fly orientation to sound, which affects reproduction of the fly and survival of the cricket host. (2019-09-27)

Kindness is a top priority in a long-term partner according to a new international study
One of the top qualities that we look for in a long-term partner is kindness, according to new research by Swansea University. (2019-09-19)

Sexual selection influences the evolution of lamprey pheromones
In 'Intra- and Interspecific Variation in Production of Bile Acids that Act As Sex Pheromones in Lampreys,' published in Physiological and Biochemical Zoology, Tyler J. Buchinger and others find that sexual selection may play a role in the evolution of lamprey pheromones. (2019-09-03)

Cometh the hourglass
Waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is a strong predictor of women's physical attractiveness. The 'ideal' value varies, but it is always low relative to men's or the average female WHR. Writing in Frontiers in Psychology, one woman asks: why? (2019-09-02)

Monster tumbleweed: Invasive new species is here to stay
A new species of gigantic tumbleweed once predicted to go extinct is not only here to stay -- it's likely to expand its territory. A new study from UC Riverside supports the theory that the new tumbleweed grows more vigorously than its progenitors because it is a hybrid with doubled pairs of its parents' chromosomes. (2019-08-26)

Queen bees face increased chance of execution if they mate with two males rather than one
Queen stingless bees face an increased risk of being executed by worker bees if they mate with two males rather than one, according to new research by the University of Sussex and the University of São Paulo. (2019-08-20)

Scent brings all the songbirds to the yard
Lehigh University scientists found that not only can chickadees smell, but the males and females prefer the smell of their own species over the smell of the opposite species. These preferences could be impacting hybridization. Their results have been published in an article entitled: 'Conspecific olfactory preferences and interspecific divergence in odor cues in a chickadee hybrid zone' in Ecology and Evolution. (2019-08-12)

Despite temperature shifts, treehoppers manage to mate
A rare bright spot among dismal climate change predictions, new research findings show that some singing insects are likely to manage to reproduce even in the midst of potentially disruptive temperature changes. (2019-08-09)

Male black widows piggyback on work of rivals in a desperate attempt to find a mate
A new U of T study finds male black widow spiders will hijack silk trails left by rival males in their search for a potential mate. (2019-08-02)

For anemonefish, male-to-female sex change happens first in the brain
The anemonefish is a gender-bending marvel. It starts out as a male, but can switch to female when circumstances allow, for example, when the only female present dies or disappears. In a new study, researchers found that the male-to-female sex-change occurs first in the fish's brain and only later involves the gonads - sometimes after a delay of months or years. (Includes video.) (2019-07-23)

Turkestan cockroach selling online is a companion of the common household cockroach
The Turkestan cockroach (commonly known as the red runner roach or rusty red roach), which is popular as food for pet reptiles, has an interneuron extremely sensitive to sex pheromones emitted by American cockroaches, providing evidence that the Turkestan cockroach is phylogenetically close to the American cockroach and the smoky brown cockroach belonging to the genus Periplaneta. (2019-07-19)

Modeling predicts blue whales' foraging behavior, aiding population management efforts
Scientists can predict where and when blue whales are most likely to be foraging for food in the California Current Ecosystem, providing new insight that could aid in the management of the endangered population in light of climate change and blue whale mortality due to ship strikes. (2019-07-17)

Infanticide by mammalian mothers
The killing of rivals' offspring represents a violent manifestation of competition, and a significant source of offspring mortality in some mammalian populations. Previous research on such infanticide has focused on males, but a new study by Dieter Lukas from the Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology and Elise Huchard from the Institut des Sciences de l'Évolution, Université Montpellier shows that infanticide by females is also widespread across mammals and that females are likely to gain substantial benefits from it. (2019-07-14)

Aphrodisiac pheromone discovered in fish semen
An aphrodisiac pheromone discovered in the semen of sea lampreys attracts ready-to-mate females, according to a study publishing July 9 in the open-access journal PLOS Biology by Anne M. Scott of Michigan State University, Zhe Zhang of Shanghai Ocean University, and colleagues. (2019-07-09)

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