A study comparing the attractiveness of red and purple female models on male guppies (Poecilia reticulata)

Elizabeth Carlson, Yasmine Bayana, Nick Mason, blair Callaway, Ryan Grewe


Studies have shown that the reason behind guppy preferences for red and orange colored mates comes from a single gene that influences several phenotypic traits, due to an early genetic predisposition in guppies (Sandkam et al. 2014). Guppies have nine opsin proteins which are used to detect color in the environment, thereby increasing the likelihood of color importance in mate choice. We predicted that red female guppy models are more attractive to male guppies than purple models because they have two proteins to detect orange and red (Sandkam et al. 2014). For our experiment, we evaluated data from the Research at the Center of the Study of Sexual Selection in Fishes page on the Bio1114 website to compare the number of seconds a male guppy spent with different colored female models. We used an online statistical calculator to determine if there was a significant difference between the female guppy models. We found that there was a significant difference between the number of seconds that the male spent near the red and purple female guppy models. Our study revealed that males are twice as likely to be attracted to red than purple models because of the pre-existing color bias in the color preferences of guppies.

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