Swamp fox describes a hot girl who surrounds herself with ugly friends. Whilst this term may not be socially appropriate, it’s more than apt for guppies. Researchers from the University of Padova, Italy have discovered that sexy male guppies choose to socialize with less colourful males.
Published in Proceedings of the Royal Society, Dr Clelia Gasparini and colleagues used an elegant experimental design which allowed males to choose whether to socialise with beautifully coloured males or dull males. Under the watchful eye of a female, male guppies preferred to chill out with drab males. Furthermore, the duller the male, the more likely he is to associate with less attractive males.
Acting in this way will improve a male’s chance of enticing a female, particularly for less attractive males which can’t compete with the best and brightest guppies. Then they also have the added bonus of not attracting predators with colourful body patterns.
So it appears, at least for the guppy, that surrounding yourself with uglier friends can help you find a mate!