How the Handicap Hypothesis Affects Male Preference in Mate Choice

James Olmstead, Mckenzie Park, Emily parks, Traci Richardson, Ashley Cast


Male guppies use different methods to attract mates. Some, involve the swinging of a guppies sexual organs, others, however, include biting towards a female guppy (Magellan et al.2005). Some guppies are bigger and brighter, while, some guppies are not. A guppy with a bigger and brighter tail might be able to reproduce more, but might also be seen by more predators. According to the handicap hypothesis, bigger and brighter colored guppies, results in a handicap, which displays the guppy’s genetic quality as well as its ability to survive (French 2015). Our hypothesis states, a male guppy will be more attracted to a female guppy with a bigger and brighter tail because it expresses the female’s ability to survive. Our tests are designed to see what traits a female guppy should have for a male guppy to be interested in them. We are testing this experiment in a 38 liter tank while trying to remove as many variables as possible to prevent the fish from becoming scared or being distracted. We determined, based on our data, that our hypothesis was correct. Male guppies are more attracted to the female model fish with a bigger and brighter caudal fin.

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