The Effects of Light Environment on Courtship Behavior and Mate Selection in Poecilia reticulata

Ashley Johnson, Jake Hill, Emily Sarvis, Bailee Loveless, Samantha Leach


The effects of light intensity on the courtship and mating behaviors of male guppies (Poecilia reticulata) was examined by measuring the mating behaviors expressed by the male guppies to the female model guppies displayed in various light intensities. Light environments and conditions affect how visibly detectable guppies are to both predators and females and can affect the conspicuousness of both male and female guppies. This prompted the question of whether or not light intensity would correlate to mating behaviors or influence mating choices by the male. We tested our hypothesis by recording the mating/courtship behaviors expressed by the male such as chasing, biting, the sigmoid display, and the gonopodium swing towards the female models displayed in different light intensities. Our hypothesis is not supported, and we found that higher light intensities result in more mating behaviors displayed by male Poecilia reticulata. This could be due to the female model guppy appearing more conspicuous and brighter in color to the male and therefore affecting mating behavior.

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