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Male Atlantic Molly Fish Engage in Homosexual Acts to Attract Females

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Dec 12, 2012 06:49 AM EST
Atlantic Molly Fish
Atlantic Molly Fish (Photo : North Carolina State University)

Male Atlantic molly fish indulge in homosexual acts in order to attract females for mating, reveals a new study.

Female Atlantic molly fish (Poecilia Mexicana) prefer to mate with colorful, large male fish. Some females are even known to copulate with males whom they have seen mating with other females. This is called "mate choice copying", which allows the females to determine the reproductive qualities of a mate by looking at them from a distance, reports news agency Agence France-Presse.

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Now a new study by researchers from University of Frankfurt, France, shows that some less attractive male Atlantic molly fish are bisexual and engage in homosexual behavior so as to attract female fish for copulation.

For their study, the research team carried out a test where they showed female fish the animations of two types of males indulging in mating behavior - with a male and a female.

Female fish were attracted to male fish copulating with another female. Surprisingly, researchers also noticed that the females were increasingly getting attracted to males copulating with other males, according to a report in Q News.

"P. mexicana females increase their preference for initially non-preferred males not only after observing those males interacting sexually with females, but also when having observed them initiating homosexual behavior," researchers wrote in their paper.

They suggest that the less attractive male fish use their homosexual behavior as a strategy to increase their mating chances with a female.

The findings of the study are published in the journal Biology Letters.

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