Ladies, good news if you partner's lacking in the looks department, he may be more fertile than a better-looking bloke, a new Australian study has found.
The theory is based on a study of tropical guppies, conducted at the University of Western Australia by Professor Jonathan Evans. The vibrant-coloured fish were chosen for this study as they have two types of mating, "courtship" displays (conducted by the handsome fish) and "sneak" mating (done by the average-looking fish).
In the study, the colourful, more attractive male fish who courted their mate were found to have poorer sperm quality than the average-looking males, which is nature's "trade-off" between characteristics than enable the male to reproduce, Professor Evans said.
This supports the theory of "sperm competition", Professor Evans said, where females mate with several males and the partner with the fastest-swimming sperm fathers the offspring.
"Males that predominantly performed sneak matings were less ornamented but had faster-swimming sperm than those that predominantly used courtship," Professor Evans wrote in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
"The reproductive advantage enjoyed by attractive males might potentially be offset by the poor performance of their ejaculates during sperm competition."
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