Friday, November 27, 2009

male blue-footed

When male blue-footed boobies take a yearlong break from sex, they get a brighter shade of blue in their feet the following year, which makes them more attractive to females, says a new study. Blue-footed boobies are best known for their bright blue webbed feet, which the males prominently display in courtship dance to attract females, reports ‘The National Geographic News.’ A new study shows that while attractiveness of the blue feet diminishes with age in males that reproduce each year, if males skip a breeding season and don’t mate, they displayed a more attractive foot colour and had more green chroma. Breeding for these tropical seabirds involves more than just the mating itself. Boobies have a long period of biparental care, i.e., the males are active participants in raising their young. The eggs are incubated for 45 days, and chicks stay with their parents for a four-month rearing period. Researchers from University of Vigo in Spain,and the National Autonomous University of Mexico studied more than a hundred male blue-footed boobies over a total of six months in 2004 and 2005 on Mexicos Isla Isabel, and measured their green chroma using a spectrophotometer. They concluded that its likely the sabbaticals from reproducing offspring may allow the male boobies to physically recover and display brighter feet in their quest of finding a mate. The study has been published in ‘The Royal Society's Biology Letters.’

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