70’s Porn Staches and the Female Fish Who Love Them

From Schlupp, I., Riesch, R., Tobler, M., Plath, M., Parzefall, J., & Schartl, M. (2010) Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

ResearchBlogging.orgStraight men let’s face it.  We will do anything if we think females will find it attractive.  No matter how ludicrous, expensive, or time-consuming it may be, we will do it.  The rise of mullets and Camaros in the 80’s can be blamed on women.  So is true in nature.  Female choice drives the elaboration of male traits. Examples include the male peacock’s splendid tail feathers, the bright colors of male birds and reef fish, and the evolution of horns in dears, beetles, and lizards.

Female Mexican mollies prefer 70’s porn staches.  Males in species Poecilia sphenops possess long epidermal filaments on the snout, resembling a mustache. In a recent study, females spent over 60% of their time with stached males instead of their clean-shaven competitors. Females also preferred the same males with soup strainers but not without them. But upper lip plummage isn’t enough.  Females preferred larger fish without a crumb catcher as opposed to smaller males with.

From Schlupp, I., Riesch, R., Tobler, M., Plath, M., Parzefall, J., & Schartl, M. (2010) Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

So what is the mouthbrow on males good for?  Sexual stimulation of the female.  At least that is the hypothesis. Mollies require foreplay that involves contact of the male’s snout and the female genital region prior to making whoopee.  The elongated snout filaments, aka the 70’s porn stache, may provide both a visual cue for choosing robust males but provide a little extra stimulation.

Jan Joseph Godfried baron van Voorst tot Voorst (December 29, 1880—November 11, 1963) was the second highest officer in command of the Dutch armed forces during World War II and a renowned strategist, who wrote numerous articles and books on modern warfare. Image from Wikimedia Commons

*The use of slang terms for moustaches in this post is not meant as derogatory commentary on what we consider to be a pinnacle of sophisticated culture.  We at DSN salute the moustache and fully support the American Mustache Institute’s mission of “Protecting the rights of, and fighting discrimination against, mustached Americans by promoting the growth, care, and culture of the mustache.”

Schlupp, I., Riesch, R., Tobler, M., Plath, M., Parzefall, J., & Schartl, M. (2010). A novel, sexually selected trait in poeciliid fishes: female preference for mustache-like, rostral filaments in male Poecilia sphenops Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology DOI: 10.1007/s00265-010-0996-y

Dr. M (1623 Posts)

Craig McClain is the Assistant Director of Science for the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center, created to facilitate research to address fundamental questions in evolutionary science. He has conducted deep-sea research for 11 years and published over 40 papers in the area. He has participated in dozens of expeditions taking him to the Antarctic and the most remote regions of the Pacific and Atlantic. Craig’s research focuses mainly on marine systems and particularly the biology of body size, biodiversity, and energy flow. He focuses often on deep-sea systems as a natural test of the consequences of energy limitation on biological systems. He is the author and chief editor of Deep-Sea News, a popular deep-sea themed blog, rated the number one ocean blog on the web and winner of numerous awards. Craig’s popular writing has been featured in Cosmos, Science Illustrated, American Scientist, Wired, Mental Floss, and the Open Lab: The Best Science Writing on the Web.





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5 comments on “70’s Porn Staches and the Female Fish Who Love Them
  1. Pingback: Tweets that mention 70’s Porn Staches and the Female Fish Who Love Them | Deep Sea News -- Topsy.com

  2. I wonder if the female preference for large, mustached males reflected in the total population, with large, mustached males being more likely to reproduce and therefore more likely to have marel offspring that grow to be big and have large mustaches.

  3. I guess not all of us can rise to the high cultural standards of the 70′s & 80′s. Or maybe I’m just jealous that I can’t grow a decent stashe.

  4. Pingback: Carnival of the Blue #39 « Arthropoda

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