Lights, Camera, Action! Observing the Mating Behavior of Male Guppies in Response to Video Stimuli

Michelle Wagar, Chelsea Streets, Donny Womack, JoHanna Watkins, Josh Encinas


 The mating behaviors of the guppy, Poecilia reticulate, is a subject that has been tested and observed for years. Scientist use guppies as a baseline to understand mating behaviors in all animals. When examining the mating behaviors of guppies, video stimulation is a fairly new technique. Unlike common 3D guppy models, video presentations display a moving more lifelike visual model; which in theory, could be more attractive to a guppy when selecting a mate. In this experiment, we wanted to observe the mating behaviors of male guppies when subjected to a video of a female guppy. We hypothesized that the male guppies would display more mating behaviors towards the video of the female guppy, than the control model, due to the fact it was more visually stimulating.  We tested this by placing a prerecorded 10 minute video of a female guppy on the left side of a tank holding a single male guppy, as well as a grey control model on the right side. We subjected the male guppy to the video/model for 5 minutes and observed how many times it displayed a mating behavior and how long it stayed on each side. We recorded our findings and repeated this process 4 more times using 4 different male guppies. Although our results did not conclusively support our hypothesis, we did observe that some of the male guppies did sexually respond to the video.

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