A team of evolutionary biologists led by David Reznick, professor of biology at the University of California, have discovered that dead guppies reproduce even after death.
After studying the reproductive behaviors of these particular guppies, biologists discovered that the females can store sperm from their dead counterparts for up to 10 months, meaning that, by the time the majority of baby guppies are born, the fathers are long gone.
However, despite how surprising this is, it seems only fair to give some credit to the female guppies; after all, although the dead males sperm allow female guppies to reproduce, it’s actually down to how the female Trinidadian guppies store the sperm that is key to the process.
This new study into fish reproduction will no doubt join the likes of findings such as the hawkfish study, which detailed that they could change their gender depending on the needs of the population.
Although this might seem like a shocking discovery, it is an ingenious way to keep the species population up when you take into consideration that male guppies only live three to four months while the females can live for as long as two years.
With dramatic numbers like this, there seems no sign of the guppy population decreasing any time soon, which is in stark contrast when compared with the current morality rate of sharks.
This discovery is the first time researchers have been able to determine just how dramatic a life span difference male and female guppies actually have, which in turn makes the new information that dead guppies reproduce even more enlightening.
The team of researchers have published their findings in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, which is available online for all to read.
For analysis of the report, Reznik states that the new findings could mean that some female guppies live for three generations, which in human terms roughly translates to having women aged 90 or over still being highly fertile.
Once the information is put into a human equivalent we can really grasp, the findings seem even more astounding; however, Reznik warns that this type of after-death reproduction might not be the first of its kind.
Instead, he believes that many more cases of vertebrates storing sperm could be in existence; they simply haven’t been observed and studied yet.
Even if there is more species out there capable of reproduction from beyond the grave, the knowledge that dead guppies reproduce will have people talking.
[Image via Discovery News]