Do Boys Prefer Just Another Pretty Face or Personality? : Effect of Color vs. Movement on Male Guppy Mating Preferences

Cheyenne Prescott, Tyler Tortella, Mandy Truelock, Kenneth Rogers, Amelia Vasquez, Rene Mitchell


It has been shown that male guppies have high mating competition due to females having irregular breeding seasons, so male guppy mating preferences have been shown to mainly be dependent on how the females respond to the male guppy’s advances. Female guppies respond to males by swimming closely with them and performing a gliding motion in front of them. We hypothesize that the movement of female guppy models over the visual characteristics alone will lead to more mating behaviors from the male guppy. To test this hypothesis, we used a medium- sized, gray model as our control and a medium-sized, orange model as our experimental model and placed them into a 38L aquarium with a male guppy. Five trials were conducted in which the models were not moving, and ten trials were conducted in which the models were moved back and forth across the aquarium in an attempt to replicate the gliding motion females use to respond to males. The results show that on average the male guppies were more attracted to the static models. When it came to the amount of mating behaviors displayed by the males, they generally preferred the orange model; however, when it came to the time spent in either preference zone, there was no general preference between the moving control and the moving experimental models. This shows that the lack of movement of the female guppy models has a greater probability of attracting a male mate.

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