The Effect of Neon Colors on the Mating Behavior of Male Guppies (Poecilia reticulata)

Ellis Tontz, Elizabeth Struble, Mason Watts, Luberson Joseph, Kyntlie Wiles


Guppies are excellent fish to use to study sexual selection due to their well known traits and mating behaviors as well as easy care. These mating behaviors include biting, fin fanning, sigmoid behaviors, and gonopodial swings that the male displays to the female. Many factors play a role in mating, but we are most interested in the significance of color. Previous studies have indicated that brightly colored females will receive more mating behaviors displayed towards them. Based on this, we hypothesize that the neon colored females will experience more mating behavior than the gray model. We gathered our data from a guppy database. Previous students obtained their results by creating a tank in which males were presented with two model females of various colors. One was always the gray control model (101001) while the other was either neon pink  (119001), neon orange (120001), or neon green (121001). To record the mating behaviors, members of the group were assigned to watch the male to observe how much time he spent with one model and what behaviors he displayed towards them. We used a Kruskal-Wallis test to explore if there was a significant difference in male guppy mate selection by presenting several colourful female models.  Analysis revealed that the male guppy did not have a significant preference for any of the models, which does not support our hypothesis. Future research should be conducted on the effect of size or non-vibrant colors on male mating behaviors and preferences to determine if those factors significantly influence male mating choice.

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