Mate Current Events

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When mice choose mates, experience counts
Female mice given a choice been the smell of a male mouse by itself, or one linked with the odor of another female, will always choose the male they think is already taken. They will even choose an unhealthy male mouse over a healthy one if they think another female has. This choice is controlled by the gene for oxytocin, when it is missing, the female mice show no preference at all. (2006-03-21)

Genders differ dramatically in evolved mate preferences
Men's and women's ideas of the perfect mate differ significantly due to evolutionary pressures, according to a cross-cultural study on multiple mate preferences by psychologists at The University of Texas at Austin. (2015-08-06)

Does birth control impact women's choice of sexual partners?
Birth control is used worldwide by more than 60 million women. Since its introduction, it has changed certain aspects of women's lives including family roles, gender roles and social life. New research in The Journal of Sexual Medicine found a link between birth control and women's preferences for psychophysical traits in a sexual mate. (2014-05-19)

Female deer take control during the mating season
A new study provides the first evidence of polyandry - when females choose to mate with more than one male - in female fallow deer. (2013-01-30)

The birdy smell of a compatible partner
New evidence shows that birds may choose their mate with the help of smell. They prefer a dissimilar mate because this gives their young a more efficient immune system. This has been shown in a new study by researchers from Lund University in Sweden, in a Swedish-French collaboration. (2012-09-07)

Relationship satisfaction depends on the mating pool, study finds
Relationship satisfaction and the energy devoted to keeping a partner are dependent on how the partner compares with other potential mates, a finding that relates to evolution's stronghold on modern relationship psychology, according to a study at The University of Texas at Austin. (2016-05-17)

Breeding programs should incorporate mate choice
The breeding programs widely used to supplement fisheries and conserve endangered species may be flawed. The problem is that while animals usually choose their mates in the wild, they typically do not get a choice when bred in captivity. The benefits of mate choice can include increased resistance to disease among offspring, and new work calls for incorporating mate choice into captive breeding programs. (2002-09-24)

News tips from the Journal of Neuroscience
Story ideas include a look at the mechanisms of mate-searching in C. elegans - a genetic model for sex drive in a simple invertebrate, and the recruitment of the rod pathway by cones in the absence of rods. (2004-08-25)

Why parents think your partner isn't good enough
It is common for parents to influence mate choice -- from arranged marriages to more subtle forms of persuasion -- but they often disagree with their children about what makes a suitable partner. A new study has found an evolutionary explanation for why some parents try to control who their children pair up with. (2013-09-18)

Invasive species use landmarking to find love in a hopeless place
Tiny populations of invasive species such as Asian carp start their domination of new ecosystems by hanging out at local landmarks, according to a new study published in the journal Theoretical Ecology this week. Understanding how species use these local hotspots can play a key role in how officials approach population control for conserving endangered species and controlling invasive ones. (2015-03-13)

Frogs' irrational choices could reform understanding of animal mating
In the attempt to choose a mate, it's no surprise that females will select the more 'attractive' of two males, but now a new study reveals that female túngara frogs are susceptible to the 'decoy' effect, where the introduction of a third, inferior mate results in the female choosing the less attractive of the first two options. (2015-08-27)

The best both of worlds -- how to have sex and survive
Researchers have discovered that even the gruesome and brutal lifestyle of the Evarcha culicivora, a blood gorging jumping spider indigenous to East Africa, can't help but be tempted by that (2007-09-20)

Scientists find male finches frugal in their attempts to attract females
Attracting a mate can be a costly endeavor, according to a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill scientist, but new experiments he helped lead show that some male animals economize on courting when the chance of success seems low. (2005-02-02)

Female mammals follow their noses to the right mates
Historically, most examples of female mate choice and its evolutionary consequences are found in birds. But that doesn't mean mammals aren't just as choosy, researchers say. It just means that mammal mate preferences may be harder to spot. (2009-03-17)

Opposites do not attract
A study conducted at the University of California, Irvine, found that a female budgerigar prefers to mate with a male that sounds like her. Biologists Marin Moravec, Professor Nancy Burley and Professor Georg Striedter conducted the study, which was published in Ethology in early November. The study also found that males that paired with more similar-sounding females gave more help to the females when they were nesting. (2006-11-13)

U of Illinois professor tout health benefits of Hispanic foods and beverages
Your trip to that Mexican restaurant on Friday may be the smartest thing you did for yourself nutritionally all week. Just released, Chemistry and Flavor of Hispanic Foods examines the bioactivity of such foods as Mexican beans and oregano, ethnic teas, Hispanic dairy products and the ancient protein-rich cereal grain amaranth, said University of Illinois assistant professor of food science and nutrition Elvira de Mejia, who co-edited the book. (2006-12-13)

Divorce in birds: She's movin' up, while he's movin' out!
Female, bird, and bored of your long-term partner? Then divorce could be something for you! In the monogamous dunlin, divorce provides benefits for females but not for males. (2012-04-11)

Study investigates 'divorce' among Galapagos seabirds
Being a devoted husband and father is not enough to keep an avian marriage together for the Nazca booby, a long-lived seabird found in the Galapagos Islands off the coast of Ecuador. Many Nazca booby females switch mates after successfully raising a chick. (2007-06-13)

Secret wing colors attract female fruit flies
Bright colors appear on a fruit fly's transparent wings against a dark background as a result of light refraction. Researchers from Lund University in Sweden have now demonstrated that females choose a mate based on the males' hidden wing colors. (2014-10-22)

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)

Mother knows best
Scientists have found new evidence to explain how female insects can influence the father of their offspring, even after mating with up to ten males. A team has found that female crickets are able to control the amount of sperm that they store from each mate to select the best father for their young. The research suggests females may be using their abdominal muscles to control the amount of sperm stored from each mate. (2009-09-08)

Shorter lives for male fruit flies forced to compete
A University of Liverpool study of fruit flies has revealed that males forced to compete with other males become less attractive to females and die young. (2014-05-19)

Study reveals new information on the direct and indirect mate choice in lekking animals
A new report published in the August 2005 issue of the American Naturalist finds that female great snipes are not attracted to centrally located males or previously popular sites on mating arenas (leks). The findings, which question the widespread beliefs about the lek mating system, were gathered by a team of Norwegian and Swedish biologists from a long-term study in the Norwegian mountains. (2005-07-26)

In promiscuous antelopes, the 'battle of the sexes' gets flipped
In some promiscuous species, sexual conflict runs in reverse, reveals a new study published online on Nov. 29 in Current Biology, a publication of Cell Press. Among African topi antelopes, females are the ones who aggressively pursue their mates, while males play hard to get. (2007-11-29)

Promiscuity could reduce benefits of successful mating, research shows
Males that mate with multiple partners may actually experience a reduction in paternity rates, due to sperm competition, as their partners will also mate with many other males. (2016-01-19)

Picky male black widow spiders prefer well-fed virgins
New University of Toronto Scarborough research shows that male black widow spiders prefer their female mates to be well-fed virgins -- a rare example of mate preference by male spiders. The study found they can tell whether a potential mate is well-fed and unmated by pheromones released by females. (2014-04-23)

When it comes to female red squirrels, it seems any male will do
Researchers have found that female red squirrels showed high levels of multimale mating and would even mate with males that had similar genetic relatedness, basically mating with their relatives. Researchers from the University of Alberta in Canada, and the University of Sheffield in England, studied a population of red squirrels over a period of three years near Kluane National Park in southwest Yukon. (2008-06-20)

More on mate tea: lower cholesterol and an international agreement
When a study in her lab showed that mate tea drinkers saw a significant increase in the activity of an enzyme that raises HDL cholesterol while lowering LDL cholesterol, University of Illinois scientist Elvira de Mejia headed for Argentina where mate tea has been used medicinally for centuries. She returned with a five-year agreement with administrators of La Universidad Nacional de Misiones to cooperate in the study of 84 genotypes of mate tea. (2007-10-23)

Reversal of the black widow myth
The Black Widow spider gets its name from the popular belief that female spiders eat their male suitors after mating. A new study by Lenka Sentenska and Stano Pekar from Masaryk University in the Czech Republic finds that male spiders of the Micaria sociabilis species are more likely to eat the females than be eaten. The paper, published in Springer's journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, outlines possible reasons for this behavior. (2013-05-06)

Compounds in mate tea induce death in colon cancer cells
In a recent University of Illinois study, scientists showed that human colon cancer cells die when they are exposed to the approximate number of bioactive compounds present in one cup of mate tea, which has long been consumed in South America for its medicinal properties. (2012-01-23)

Study shows animal mating choices more complex than once thought
When female tiger salamanders choose a mate, it turns out that size does matter -- tail size that is -- and that's not the only factor they weigh. Findings of a Purdue University study show that animals make more complex decisions about choosing mates than once thought. (2009-06-08)

Tiny fruit flies use cold hard logic to select mates
Fruit flies -- the tiny insects that swarm our kitchens over the summer months -- exhibit rational decision making when selecting mates, according to research published today in Nature Communications. Researchers observed different combinations of fruit flies mate about 2,700 times, and were surprised to discover that male flies almost always pick the female mate that would produce the most offspring. The study provides the first evidence that fruit flies are capable of making rational choices. (2017-01-17)

The cost of keeping eggs fresh for mother cockroaches
Tiny multiple sperm can be long lived, while large (2007-02-26)

A deep male voice helps women remember
Men take note: If you want women to remember, speak to them in a low pitch voice. Then, they may rate you as a potential mate. That's according to a new study by scientists from the University of Aberdeen, UK. Their work shows for the first time that a low masculine voice is important for both mate choice and the accuracy of women's memory. The research is published online in Springer's journal, Memory & Cognition. (2011-09-12)

Loyal alligators display the mating habits of birds
Research published in Molecular Ecology reveals that alligators display the same loyalty to their mates as birds, a discovery which may give a better understanding of dinosaur mating. (2009-10-07)

Nice moves: First dancing, then mating in songbirds
Java sparrows are more likely to mate after dancing together, according to a study from Hokkaido University, contradictory to the belief that songs are the primary sexual signal. (2017-04-16)

Small-brained female guppies aren't drawn to attractive males
Female guppies with smaller brains can distinguish attractive males, but they don't recognize them as being more appealing or choose to mate with them, according to a new study by UCL and Stockholm University researchers. The study, published in Nature Ecology & Evolution, adds weight to the link between mate preference and cognitive ability. (2018-10-08)

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)

Unnatural selection: Birth control pills may alter choice of partners
Is it possible that the use of oral contraceptives is interfering with a woman's ability to choose, compete for and retain her preferred mate? A new paper published by Cell Press in the October issue of the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution reviews emerging evidence suggesting that contraceptive methods which alter a woman's natural hormonal cycles may have an underappreciated impact on choice of partners for both women and men and, possibly, reproductive success. (2009-10-07)

Why you can't hurry love
Scientists have developed a mathematical model of the mating game to help explain why courtship is often protracted. The study, by researchers at University College London, University of Warwick and London School of Economics and Political Science, shows that extended courtship enables a male to signal his suitability to a female and enables the female to screen out the male if he is unsuitable as a mate. (2009-01-16)

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