Promiscuity creates ‘superman sperm’

Posted: February 21, 2009 in science & technology

oralfishmatingBack from my holiday in the wifi-impoverished Australian countryside and I’m finally getting around to writing a post I already wanted to publish four weeks ago. Back then the NewScientist reported that new research has confirmed a trend in studies on chimps and gorillas showing that sperm is moving faster in the promiscuous chimpanzee species than those in the larger, more monogamous primates. To settle issues that arose from contradictory studies, researchers at McMaster University in Ontario, Canada looked closer at 29 species of cichlid fish who live in Lake Tanganyika in Africa.

Particular to that species is their mating behaviour, which ranges from monogamy to “sperm shopping”: females, carrying their eggs in their mouth, get them fertislised by several males. Unsurprisingly the research team found that the sperm of monogamous fish were small and slow, while the promiscuous species’ ejaculates “were almost twice as fast, larger, there were more of them, and they lived longer”.

Unfortunately I’ll have to refrain from drawing the obvious conclusion 😉 given that we need to live more sustainably on this planet.

More Links:

Infidelity Produces Faster Sperm

  1. john hobbs says:

    I don’t mean to be anal, but you mentioned research on Lake Tanganyika cichlids and post a photo of a Lake Victoria cichlid. Name: Haplochromis species #44 “thickskin”
    Synonym: Astatotilapia sp. “red tail”
    Common name: Haplochromis obliquidens
    Sorry, I’m an aquarium junkie…Best of luck, john

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