Data from: The "Woman in Red" Effect: pipefish males curb pregnancies at the sight of an attractive female
Cunha, Mário; Berglund, Anders; Mendes, Sara; Monteiro, Nuno (2018), Data from: The "Woman in Red" Effect: pipefish males curb pregnancies at the sight of an attractive female, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.9v70301
In an old Gene Wilder movie, an attractive woman dressed in red devastated a man’s current relationship. We have found a similar “Woman in Red” effect in pipefish, a group of fish where pregnancy occurs in males. We tested for the existence of pregnancy blocks in pregnant male black-striped pipefish (Syngnathus abaster). We allowed pregnant males to see females that were larger and even more attractive than their original high-quality mates and monitored the survival and growth of developing offspring. After exposure to these extremely attractive females, males produced smaller offspring in more heterogeneous broods and showed a higher rate of spontaneous offspring abortion. Although we did not observe a full pregnancy block, our results show that males are able to reduce investment in current broods when faced with prospects of a more successful future reproduction with a potentially better mate. This “Woman in Red” life history trade-off between present and future reproduction has similarities to the Bruce effect, and our study represents the first documentation of such a phenomenon outside mammals.