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Mexican Fish Sports Bizarre Four-Hooked Penis

Mexican Fish Sports Bizarre Four-Hooked Penis

National Geographic
Posted by David Braun
September 30, 2012

A new species of freshwater fish found in Mexico has several interesting – “and perhaps cringe-inducing” – characteristics, including four hooks on the male genitalia, North Carolina State University said this week.

“Females of the new species – the llanos mosquitofish, or Gambusia quadruncus – also have distinguishing characteristics, including a colorful anal spot,” NC State said in a news statement, adding that the anal spot on females “appears to serve as a signal that only certain males are desired for mating.”

A research paper describing the new species, which lives in a diversity hotspot in east-central Mexico and seemingly branched off from its closest relative more than one million years ago, appears in the Journal of Fish Biology. Brian Langerhans, assistant professor of biology at NC State and the lead author of the paper, says that its unusual genitalia may play important roles in mating control and success.

While more research is needed, Langerhans says, the four-hooked genitalia on males “can serve a purpose when females attempt to block or restrict mating attempts.”

Read more: http://newswatch.nationalgeographic.com/2012/09/30/mexican-f...