London, July 30 (Reuters): Big, assertive guys don’t always get the girls.
In some species, such as coho salmon and quail, weedier, less aggressive males are the top choice of females, New Scientist magazine said today.
“People just expect the dominant guy to win. But females learn through personal experience that these males can be hurtful,” according to Alex Ophir, of Canada’s McMaster University in Ontario.
Ophir proved the point by observing Japanese quail. After female quail watched a fight between two males they were put in the same cage with the combatants. Virgin females preferred the winner but the females with some sexual experience tended to choose the loser.
Female coho salmon are also more likely to mate with males known as jacks who stop growing earlier and are smaller than their competitors, said evolutionary biologist Steve Shuster of Northern Arizona University in Flagstaff.
He suspects female salmon may be attracted to jacks because their early maturing could be a sign of quality and success.
”The females may also prefer to avoid the physical abuse of mating with aggressive males,” the magazine added.