Tuesday, 14 February 2012
Even the animal kingdom understands the concept of giving gifts in return for favours.
The Rhamphomyia sulcata fly is a great example - the boys usually bestow females with nutritious food gifts, such as big, juicy bugs, before mating. If the male forgets to give the female a present, she will literally shoo him away.
But lately, scientists have discovered something odd: flies can be rats.
I don't mean literally a species swap, I mean some males are cheapskates and cheats. The males can woo their intendeds with worthless, fake love tokens - even getting as clever as gifting her with empty packages wrapped up with layers of silk. Heydon explains: "By the time the female finishes unwrapping her gift and discovers that it is empty, the male has already mated with her." The poor girl realizes her lover is a cheapskate and beats him off with her wings - and he leaves with his faux present to find another partner.
That's right, the cheeky sod takes his present to reuse! I've heard of recycling giftwrap, but that's a... rather literal interpretation.
Posted by Amber Peall at 13:21