Are Male Guppies (Poecilia reticulata) Attracted to Brightly Colored Females?

Gavin Yager, Clayton Williams, Audra Williams, Kristin Wollam, Lindsey Worcester


 Many researchers have concentrated on how female guppies choose their mates. However, there aren’t many studies concentrating on how male guppies select for their mates. After reviewing many articles and experiments on female guppies we noticed the main characteristic for selecting a male was based on colors. Most of the studies concluded that male guppies that were selected by females were brightly colored. After coming upon this information we researched the color wavelengths guppies are able to see at and discovered they had a limited color wavelength between 410-465nm and 529–579nm (Archer et. al 1987). After observing this data, we hypothesized that male guppies will be attracted to brightly colored female guppies (wavelengths 529-579nm) due to the reduction of light underwater resulting in dull colors (wavelengths 410-465nm) not being seen as clearly. To test this we exposed a male guppy to different models of female guppies with different wavelengths. To represent our control each model was the same size to allow for consistent data. After setting the experiment up we recorded the number of times the male guppy exhibited mating behaviors and the amount of time spent with each model. Our results didn’t support our hypothesis that male guppies are attracted to longer wavelengths due to the data being random. Even though our hypothesis wasn’t supported, concentrating on the environmental factors and other forces that affected the evolution of guppies will allow biologists to gain a better understanding as to how guppies courtship behaviors evolved over time instead of concentrating on one aspect, what female guppies are attracted to.

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