Guppies Just Want to Have Fun: Female Poecilia reticulata’s Color Effect on Male’s Mating Choice

Layla Hall, Jenna Frederick, Taylor Hedge, Treston Eaker, Nicole Hackler, Ryan Grewe


Poecilia reticulata, also known as guppies, have been in researchers’ interest for numerous years. They are an easy species to conduct experiments on due to their size and color. Because of their distinct mating cues, our lab group became inclined to experiment with the color of the female Poecilia reticulata effect on the male’s mating preference. We hypothesized that the males would take more interest in the red(model #105001) female decoys rather than the yellow(model #115001) or purple(model #110001) female decoys. We chose these three colors because of their placement on the light spectrum; We were able to test both ends of the color spectrum, with red being the highest on the spectrum and purple being the lowest and yellow landing around the middle of the spectrum. Using past research, we conducted a meta-analysis of fifteen trials on three experimental groups: red, yellow, and purple female decoys. They tested two different variables, time spent near decoy and frequency of varying mating behaviors to the decoy. The male Poecilia reticulata spent the most time around the purple female decoy but initiated the most mating behaviors towards the red female decoy. Our hypothesis was partially supported. To extend an understanding of why the Poecilia reticulata spent more time around the purple decoy, future researchers can test what colors evoke curiosity for male Poecilia reticulata. Our findings from this experiment could potentially benefit the scientific committee by discovering which behavioral and physical attributes fish look for when picking a mate.  

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