Poecilia reticulata Intersexual Selection: The Effect of Female Coloration on Male Mating Preference

Torie Cayton, Haley Bearden, Samuel Arteaga, Jeremy Kaplan


There are a multitude of factors that affect the intersexual selection of Poecilia reticulata such as color, size, and sociability. This study explored the mating behaviors of male guppies in an attempt to determine what wavelength attracts males to female guppies. As male guppies have more preference in mate choice and are often attracted to those females who are flashier colored, we predicted the male guppy would be more attracted to the guppy models with colors of longer wavelength than the control warm gray guppy model. In order to test this hypothesis, we used data from previously conducted studies to analyze the preferences of the male guppies based on their color preference. Using control sized models of true red, true yellow, neon orange, neon green, neon pink, and cool gray female guppies we compared the male preferences of these fish models to the preference of a control sized warm gray model. After completion of the study, it was observed that while male guppies spent more time in the experimental zones with the female models with colors of longer wavelengths, they did not exhibit a substantial amount of mating behavior with the female guppy models. As the male guppies did not explicitly exhibit conclusive mating behaviors, the hypothesis was neither confirmed nor denied. Conducting future studies with more variables could help to expand the knowledge of Poecilia reticulata sexual preferences, and determine if male guppies rely on more than one aspect of female fecundity in order to select an appropriate mate.

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