Attractive fathers produce attractive sons as is evident from the testimony of fruit flies. This is in accordance to a study carried out by a group of researchers at the University of Exeter. They focused on the fruit fly Drosophila simulans and found that attractiveness is hereditary in them.
In the study, the team paired up males and females at random and found the length of time it took for them to mate ranged from just two minutes to two hours.
Female fruit flies need to make themselves accessible to males for mating to take place, so males cannot force copulation. Therefore, the speed at which mating occurs can be taken as an indication of the attractiveness of the male to his female partner.
After males had mated with around three females each, their sons who were full and half brothers were paired with single females. Again, the time for copulation to occur was recorded.
Such a procedure allowed the scientists to look at the genetic component of attractiveness.
The analysis found that attractiveness is hereditary, passed on from father to son.
“Attractiveness probably can’t be defined by individual characteristics, so there is no single physical attribute that female fruitflies are looking for in a mate. However, there is clearly a benefit to females in having sexy sons that are more likely to attract a mate and produce offspring,” Hosken said.
The study indicates that one benefit females may enjoy by mating with attractive males is that they will produce ‘sexy’ sons, which are more likely to be successful in mating.
The study is published in Current Biology.