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Female fish can breed a new species if they aren’t choosy about who is Mr Right


Fish will mate with a species outside their own if the male’s colouring is attractive enough or if the female can’t see him properly, according to new research.

Such ‘mistakes’ in mate choice can lead to the evolution of new species, an international team of scientists found. The group studied 2000 fish and analysed the DNA of more than 400 cichlid fish from two freshwater lakes in East Africa. They discovered more than 40 new species in Lake Mweru, which formed around one million years ago.

Dr Joana Meier, an evolutionary biologist at St John’s College, University of Cambridge, and lead author of the research published 3 December 2019 in Nature Communications, said: “We found a dazzling variety of ecologically diverse new species – called radiations – that were previously unknown. MORE

Header image: St John’s College.

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