Do You Understand the Gravid-y of This Situation? Does The Presence of Gravid Spots Affect Mate Selection in Poecilia reticulata

Taylor Mordas, Ryen Macy, Jonelle Neighbors, Ryan Grewe, Trey Richard Roberts


The Center for the Study of Sexual Selection in Fishes focuses on understanding the various factors that affect mating processes in fish. Poecilia reticulata, guppies, use visual cues for mating selections, and one such cue is a gravid spot. Gravid spots are dark spots on a female guppy’s abdomen that indicates they have successfully mated previously or are currently pregnant. Our hypothesis states that male guppies will prefer females with a gravid spot over females without a gravid spot because the presence of the spot signifies sexual maturity and fitness. We were not able to conduct the experiment ourselves due to COVID-19, therefore we collected data from previous students’ experiments found in the Guppy Data Collector program and analyzed the data to determine mate preferences in guppies (CS3F 2020). The trials we collected showed the amount of time the male guppy spent on each side of the tank and the different courtship behaviors displayed towards each model. The results from the trials did not support our hypothesis, as the male spent more time in the neutral zone and displayed more courtship behaviors to the control model. Similar experiments support our findings in showing little difference among the courtship behaviors between females with a gravid spot and without a gravid spot.


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