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The ‘Woman in Red’ effect: pipefish males curb pregnancies at the sight of an attractive female
Univ Porto, Ctr Invest Biodiversidade & Recursos Genet, CIBIO InBIO, Vairao, Portugal.
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Science and Technology, Biology, Department of Ecology and Genetics, Animal ecology.
Univ Porto, Ctr Invest Biodiversidade & Recursos Genet, CIBIO InBIO, Vairao, Portugal.
Univ Porto, Ctr Invest Biodiversidade & Recursos Genet, CIBIO InBIO, Vairao, Portugal; Univ Fernando Pessoa, Fac Ciencias Saude, CEBIMED, Porto, Portugal.
2018 (English)In: Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Biological Sciences, ISSN 0962-8452, E-ISSN 1471-2954, Vol. 285, no 1885, article id 20181335Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

In an old Gene Wilder movie, an attractive woman dressed in red devastated a man’s current relationship. We have found a similar ‘Woman in Red’ effect in pipefish, a group of fish where pregnancy occurs in males. We tested for the existence of pregnancy blocks in pregnant male black-striped pipefish (Syngnathus abaster). We allowed pregnant males to see females that were larger and even more attractive than their original high-quality mates and monitored the survival and growth of developing offspring. After exposure to these extremely attractive females, males produced smaller offspring in more heterogeneous broods and showed a higher rate of spontaneous offspring abortion. Although we did not observe a full pregnancy block, our results show that males are able to reduce investment in current broods when faced with prospects of a more successful future reproduction with a potentially better mate. This ‘Woman in Red’ life-history trade-off between present and future reproduction has similarities to the Bruce effect, and our study represents, to our knowledge, the first documentation of such a phenomenon outside mammals.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2018. Vol. 285, no 1885, article id 20181335
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Ecology
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-357921DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2018.1335ISI: 000443163500027OAI: oai:DiVA.org:uu-357921DiVA, id: diva2:1240756
Available from: 2018-08-22 Created: 2018-08-22 Last updated: 2018-11-01Bibliographically approved

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