Washington, March 3 : A new research has revealed that a number of fish use electric fields to attract females of their species and also to intimidate rivals, with an Amazon fish being the case study.
Behavioral ecologist Vielka Salazar from Florida International University in Miami and her colleagues carried out the research.
According to a report in Live Science, for their research, the team of ecologists studied the nocturnal gymnotiform fish in particular. The males of this species, which are native to the Amazon basin, gives off big, long electric hums, almost like serenades, at night time.
To see just how much energy these electric fish pumped into their signals, the research team measured how much oxygen they consumed during electric discharges.
They discovered that the male fish invested as much as 11 to 22 percent of their body's energy in their nocturnal electric displays.
Females hardly exerted themselves electrically, just expending 3 percent of their energy.
"If these displays are expensive to generate, one can presume that individuals paying attention to these signals can infer a better quality male is generating them," Salazar told Live Science.
When Salazar looked at how fit the males were, she found the fattest and healthiest males often broadcast the biggest electric signals. As such, they were essentially advertising their bodies.
The researchers now seek to determine if these electric signals are meant to attract females, warn away other males, or both.