Science Proves Facial Hair Is Sexy...On Fish

Here at Kotaku, we're big proponents of facial hair, even if some of our esteemed colleagues aren't with the program yet. Now science proves that a bushy moustache does indeed make males more attractive to females. Well, female fish at least.

Science is all about answering unanswered questions. Why is the sky blue? Why do birds suddenly appear? Why do some Mexican molly fish sport moustache-like facial appendages, while others do not?

The answer to all of these questions is simple - for the ladies. The answer might not seem like it matches the first question, but I assure you, it fits, somehow.

And it definitely fits the third.

For years, zoologists like Professor Ingo Schlupp (best name ever) of the University of Oklahoma in Norman and his colleagues puzzled over the fact that certain male Mexican mollies (Poecilia sphenops) sported lip ornaments, while others did not.

It should have been obvious. Well, perhaps not to a man named Ingo Schlupp, but to most of us at least. Especially considering that the molly is a rare sort of fish that fertilizes eggs inside the female body, instead of spreading semen over a bed of pre-laid eggs.

These fish are lovers.

Still, science requires proof, so Professor Schlupp and associates captured more than 100 specimens of molly, both male and female, mustachioed and hairless, testing them by seeing how long the females spent with males of either variety.

Overwhelmingly, the females preferred males with facial hair.

The researchers results are published in the Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology journal, in which one writes, ""The moustache-like structure seems to be a previously unrecognized sexually selected trait in poeciliid fishes."

So that answers one question, but one still lingers. What about moustache rides? Oh yes, aquatic moustache rides are go.

"This is based on the general observation that males will touch the female's genital region with their mouth prior to mating," Prof Schlupp told the BBC.

The scientists call this behavior "nipping," and believe it helps give the female more information about the male.

I'm leaving that one alone.

So there you have it. Scientific proof that facial hair is sexy. We can all rest easy now. Well, except Ashcraft and Totilo. They've got some growing to do

Male fish in Mexico sports sexy 'moustache' [BBC]