Male sex ornaments are fishing lures, literally

Thursday, July 12, 2012 - 11:02 in Biology & Nature

Talk about a bait-and-switch. Male representatives of the tropical fish known as swordtail characins have flag-like sex ornaments that catch mates just like the bait on a fishing rod would. What's more, a study reported online on July 12 in Current Biology, shows just what any good fly-fisherman would know: Lures work best if they mimic the foods that fish most often eat. For some characins in the study, that means males are waving pretend ants around in hopes of getting a bite.

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