Big Fish, Small Fish, Orange Fish, Purple Fish: How size and color affect the mating behaviors of male guppies (Poecilia reticulata)

Steven Downs, Kate Goodwin, Shayla Dell'Anno, Ashlynn Harris, James Mantooth, Matilyn Dorsey


Male guppies, or Poecilia reticulata, have the tendency to prefer brightly colored and larger females as their mating partners. Many studies that have been done further proved that P. reticulata are more attracted to lighter colors such as orange in both mating and feeding contexts. It was also shown in that study the males prefer larger females alongside the brighter colors of female guppies. This was tested in previous experiences by placing one male P. reticulata in a tank and placing females with different characteristics in the tank with that male. By watching certain behaviors of the male, they determined which female he prefers and traced that back to that female's specific characteristics. The 4 female models that we analyzed were Large, Small, one that is Neon Orange and one that is True Purple. We used a Wilcoxon Signed-Rank Test Calculator to see if the male P. reticulata preferred one side or the other. We also took the averages of the time spent on one side of the tank and the number of mating behavior exhibited by the male P. reticulata. The overall trend was that the male P. reticulata exhibited more mating behaviors around the Large female model and the True Purple model, while the Small and Neon Orange models did not have as many mating behaviors exhibited around them. Our hypothesis was overall supported since the male P. reticulata exhibited the most mating behaviors around the Large female model than in the more colorful models.

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