Mating mix-up with wrong fly lowers libido for Mr. Right

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Mating mix-up with wrong fly lowers libido for Mr. Right. Duke Today, March 16, 2017. If you’ve ever suffered a nightmare date and were hesitant to try again, fruit flies can relate. Female flies that have been coerced into sex by invasive males of the wrong species are less likely to reproduce with their own kind later. Invasive species are known to threaten native biodiversity by bringing in diseases, preying on resident species or outcompeting them for food. But these results show invasives pose a risk through unwelcome advances, too. Picked up by The Discovery Files, a podcast from the National Science Foundation.

Model shows female beauty isn’t just sex appeal

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Model shows female beauty isn’t just sex appeal. Duke Today, Jan. 30, 2017. Female beauty may have less to do with attracting the opposite sex than previously thought, at least in animals. Results of a mathematical modeling study suggest that romantic attention, by itself, is not enough to give attractive females an evolutionary edge over their plainer counterparts — even when their good looks help them snag superior mates. For females, the benefits of beauty likely go beyond their success in the mating market, the model shows. Picked up by the Daily MailTime Warner Cable News and North Carolina NPR affiliate SciWorks Radio.

‘Mean girl’ meerkats can make twice as much testosterone as males

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‘Mean girl’ meerkats can make twice as much testosterone as males. Duke Today, Oct. 20, 2016Testosterone. It’s often lauded as the hormone that makes males bigger, bolder, stronger. Now researchers have identified one group of animals, the meerkats of Africa, in which females can produce even more testosterone than males — the only animals known to have such a pattern. Female meerkats with high levels of testosterone-related hormones are more likely to be leaders, but they also pay a price for being macho, according to two new studies. Picked up by the Daily Mail and the daily news feed of the National Science Foundation.

Male hormones help lemur females rule

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Male hormones help lemur females rule. Duke Today, May 12, 2015. Lemur girls behave more like the guys, thanks to a little testosterone, finds a new study. When it comes to conventional gender roles, lemurs — distant primate cousins of ours — buck the trend. Duke University researchers say females have significantly lower testosterone levels than the males across the board. But when they compared six lemur species, they found that females of species where females dominate have higher testosterone than females of more egalitarian species. Picked up by the Charlotte Observer.

Big butts aren’t everything to male baboons

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Big butts aren’t everything to male baboons. Duke Today, April 20, 2015. While the female baboon’s big red bottom may be an eyesore to some, it has an aphrodisiac effect on her mates. Biologists have long thought that baboon males prefer females with bigger backsides as the mark of a good mother, but a Duke study reveals that the size of a female’s swollen rump doesn’t matter as much as previously thought. Picked up by the Washington Post and Fox News.