Who will Mr. Nibbles Nibble? The Effects of Tumor Growth on the Male Mating Preference of Poecilia reticulata

Garrett Walsh, Ashley Knoch, Aspen Valliquette, Britney Webb, Shaylin Weygandt


The Center for the Study of Sexual Selection in Fishes (CSSSF) is a foundation that looks into the variables that increase sexual selection in different kinds of fish. For this experiment we are looking specifically at Poecilia reticulata, more commonly known as the guppy. The characteristics that determine the sexual selection of these guppies are things such as: fish size, color, brilliance of appearance, external health (eg diseases), and mobility. For our experiment, we decided to look at the presence of external disease, specifically a tumor. We wanted to discover how the tumor affected the guppy’s mating preferences. We tested this by creating two artificial 3D printed guppies, one with a tumor and one without, and looking at the live guppy’s sexual interest in both. Our results show that the guppies spent more time with the “healthy fish” than the fish with the tumor. This supports our hypothesis that the guppy will select the healthier mate in order to produce healthier offspring.

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