How Longer Wavelengths in Color Affect the Mating Behavior in Male Guppies (Poecilia reticulata)

Lizbeth Rojas, Valeria Torres, Gray Ringer, Zachary Rickard, Jackelynn Gutierrez


Guppies (Poecilia reticulata) have been utilized throughout the scientific field in order to study evolutionary and behavioral factors that affect their mating system. These fishes are easy to use because of their ability to vary phenotypically and genotypically, which allows for studies to be conducted on why certain characteristics are chosen when it is time to reproduce. It has been seen that color variations affect the attraction between the male and female guppies, which is assumed to be because those guppies are more easily detected by its counterpart than when the guppies are a neutral color, such as gray. When considering colors, it is those that have longer wavelengths (570nm-650nm) that attract guppies more, such as red and orange because they are more detectable than colors with shorter wavelengths (400nm-510nm). This would suggest that this is a trait that guppies want to continue because it will facilitate for reproduction by future generations. We have tested this hypothesis by comparing data of female guppies of different colors, true red, true orange, and true purple, with our control variable of warm gray. We gathered this data through the database reference that was provided by the Center for Study of Sexual Selection in Fishes. This database had an abundance of past studies to gather all of the information needed to complete our study. Based on the data we gathered from past trials, those colors of longer wavelengths (570nm-650nm) attract the male guppies more so than the colors of shorter wavelengths (400nm-510nm). Our data showed that the red colored female, which was the color with the longest wavelength, is the guppy that the male spent more time with on average, and the guppy to have the highest average of mating behavior performed. Based on what we have gathered, it is the color with the longest wavelength that the guppies favor for mating, for that color is something that they want to pass onto future generations.

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