Guppy Love: A study of how changes in color brightness in female Poecilia reticulata affects male preference for reproduction

Makayla Schneider, Blake Singleterry, Claire Williams, Kylee Turner, Sofia Gomez, J. A.


Guppies are a freshwater tropical fish that are sexually dimorphic, meaning the males and females do not look the same. This characteristic causes the coloration between the males and females to be important in the mating process. We wanted to see how variation in color brightness affects how males choose females to pursue and analyze if male guppies have a color preference in the sexual selection preference by comparing the colors: translucent orange, neon orange, and true orange to our control color, warm gray. We hypothesized that the brighter the color of the female model, the more time male guppies will spend around the model because males can see the brighter females more easily and are more attracted to them. To collect the data, 3D female guppy models were placed on both ends of the tank and time spent on either side was observed and recorded. A data analysis of the previously collected data, from a database, was conducted and we found that males were most attracted to a female when the female had a translucent orange color. This is most likely due to the male guppies feeling as though they were in a stressful environment which can cause them to choose mates who would not stand out as much which increases the survivorship. This information could be used in the future to help future studies determine the predation threat in the environment based on the colors seen there. 

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