One Fish, Two Fish: Testing the Impacts of Red and Blue Coloration on Sexual Selection in Poecilia reticulata

Ethan Shaw, Jenny Rios, Julia Stone, Jimson Shaw, Desi Wilson


Due to their remarkably variable morphology, Poecilia reticulata make for an optimal research species, especially when it comes to research into sexual selection. In our research, we reviewed previous studies over the effect of color on various sexual selection behaviors in these fish. In particular, we researched the colors red and blue, which were represented by the model numbers 105001 and 123001 respectively. Each was measured against a control. We expect that with double the amount of LWS cones as SWS2 cones, the P. reticulata with longer wavelength coloration, like the red colored fish, will be more sexually viable than the P. reticulata with shorter wavelength coloration, like the blue colored fish. We analyzed fifteen trials that were conducted on red fish, 105001, and seven trials that were conducted on blue fish, 123001. Both trials were compared to the control color of warm gray, 101001. Our results showed a slight correlation between males showing more sexual selection behaviors towards the red models versus the control models, as opposed to the blue models versus the control models. However, despite the correlation, a Mann-Whitney U test showed that the data was not significant. The fact our data was not significant could be due to the nature of the data gathered, as the data was from various groups. If we had the opportunity to perform all the trials ourselves, we could more easily guarantee the accuracy of the data, and this may lead to the data becoming significant.

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