The mating game

By Carrie Johnson Weimar • Published: February 6th, 2008
Category: Health in a Heartbeat

When a grouse is ready to mate, he will pound on a hollow log, drumming for female attention. A bull elk will make a noise that sounds like a cross between a roar and a high-pitched squeak, while some underwater creatures emit an electrical current to lure potential mates. But in the bug world, a male bug’s ability to attract females may be inherited from his dad.

So says a new study conducted by British scientists. The research raises the possibility that attractiveness may be hereditary in many members of the animal kingdom… including humans.

Scientists studied the fruitfly Drosophilia simulans, randomly pairing up males and females and recording the time it took each to mate. The times varied from two minutes to two hours.

Because female fruitflies must make themselves available to mate, how quickly a couple pairs off can be used as a means to measure the attractiveness of the male.

Once the males had mated with three females each, their male offspring was paired with single females. The time it took for the couples to mate was again recorded. Scientists say they found a correlation between the time it took for the fathers and the sons to mate. Their conclusion? Sexiness is hereditary.

But guys, before you give credit… or blame… to dear old dad, keep in mind that while scientists may believe their findings can be applied to other species, more research is needed to see whether how mates rate is truly a matter of genetics.