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Author Topic: Purpose of "sword" on swordtails?  (Read 6100 times)
phatred
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« on: January 23, 2008, 06:12:41 PM »

I recently got one male and one female swordtail which i had never owned and read before i bought them that the males have the sword. I couldn't find what the purpose of the sword was online, is it a reproducing organ? My male swims backwards by the female, i wasn't sure if it was a mating ritual or some kind of defense?
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Taylor
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« Reply #1 on: January 23, 2008, 06:15:25 PM »

I think it was bred into them. Like how most betta's have long fins, or there are long-finned versions of different species of fish, they are specially bred to have the long-fins, it becomes a recessive trait.
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tom14
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« Reply #2 on: January 23, 2008, 06:30:16 PM »

as far as i was aware, the tails occured naturally however, probably not as long as the ones in the shops (due to selective breeding)

it is not the reproductive organ. if you look closely at the anal fin of the male you will see it is fused together, this the the reproductive bit.

i found this interesting article: http://www.cbc.ca/news/story/2007/02/14/science-swordtail.html research done by british scientists found that females mature quicker in the presence of males with big tails. Also, it seems to slow the development of other less dominant males. What they concluded was that sexual maturation can come in respeonce to visuals. this therefore suggests why there is a tail, it is advantageous for males to have big tails because it is what the females look for in a man lol. 'size does matter'   Wink

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RTR...Grumpy Ole Fogie
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« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2008, 12:31:44 AM »

Agree w/tom14 - just another secondary sexual trait.  The world is full of them - the peacock's tail feathers and their display, many bird and fish colors and patterns, manes on male lions, etc.  Behaviors can serve the same function - nest building and spawning site prep, shifting color patterns, gill flaring, mating dances. 
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« Reply #4 on: January 25, 2008, 01:26:00 AM »

its for fighting, havent you ever seen your swordies jabbing eachother with there fins?  Wink
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Debra
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« Reply #5 on: January 25, 2008, 03:31:53 AM »

Quote
My male swims backwards by the female, i wasn't sure if it was a mating ritual or some kind of defense?

He's not being aggressive or defensive. He is however "dancing" for her. He wants to mate with her and he's trying to impress her with his long sword and his fancy dance moves. Also known as a mating ritual.

hth happy
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RTR...Grumpy Ole Fogie
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« Reply #6 on: January 25, 2008, 09:44:47 AM »

The fin modification/extension is for display, not physical combat.  It is not a physical weapon.
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russ
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« Reply #7 on: January 25, 2008, 09:54:26 AM »

Yep, as indicated it is primarily for display. Works for intimidation against other male swordtails, defense against predetors (appearing larger than actual), and of coarse for impressing the lady fishes into partaking in the wild fish dance. Smiley

Taylor,

"Like how most betta's have long fins,"

Ah, thats a big no on that one.....lol But I think I know what you mean. Wink

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Taylor
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« Reply #8 on: January 25, 2008, 10:11:05 AM »

Woops, that was my bad Russ. I was trying to say how betta splendens have been bred into having larger, and longer fins versus their wild brethren.
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Gopi
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« Reply #9 on: January 25, 2008, 04:23:32 PM »

Huh, I thought I posted on here a couple days ago... Oh well. There is a female preference for the sword, the bigger the sword, the sexier the male is. The sexier the male is, the more likely he's going to get to mate. There is an innate preference for swords in other related fish as well, even when the species does not have swords on males. (Yeah, see, scientists artificially enlarged some males' tails so it looked like had swords and those males got more action than the swordless ones.) This sword thing comes up multiple times if you study genetics or anything that will somehow relate to sexual selection...
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