The Mexican Molly fish grows a mustaches when it’s ready to seduce the lady fish. Yeah, I didn’t believe it either when I read about it in Cosmo this month. But BBC Earth News explained everything:
Scientists were unsure why male Mexican mollies wear an extravagant mustache-like structure on their top lip. A study has revealed that female fish find the mustache sexually attractive, and it is likely to be a sexually selected trait. As well as being visually-attractive, the mustache may be used to rub the female fish’s genitals, exciting them.
Details are published in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology.
As their name suggests, Mexican mollies (Poecilia sphenops) live in Mexico, being a fairly common species that resides in a range of habitats from small rivers to creeks and lakes. The fish has a complicated mating behavior, with males fertilizing females internally, rather than spreading sperm over externally laid eggs.
Not all males are equal, however. Some possess a moustache-type structure growing from scales on their top lip.
Until now, its function has not been known as it has not been studied or described in any detail.
So zoologist Professor Ingo Schlupp of the University of Oklahoma in Norman, US and colleagues in the US and Germany decided to study it for the first time.
They caught from the wild a selection of male and female Mexican mollies, measuring the length of the moustache on those males found to be growing one. The research team then conducted a series of experiments, placing male and female fish into tanks, and measuring how long females spent in the company of males sporting moustaches of various lengths, or none at all.
They also measured how female fish responded to videos of different males. The results were clear: on experiments involving over 100 fish, females consistently preferred males with moustaches.
“The mustache-like structure seems to be a previously unrecognized sexually selected trait in poeciliid fishes,” the researchers write in the journal.”
This may be the first time that I’ve found a mustache pretty fascinating.