What Men Want: Are Male Guppies More Attracted to Colorful Females?

Kelsie Hoelscher, Mallory Dixon, Cody Duttry, Justin Agan


For decades, scientists have performed experiments and collected data to monitor sexual selection in the wild. For our experiment’s purposes, we are monitoring sexual selection through guppies. We want to know why male guppies choose certain female guppies over other ones. Is it their size? Their color? Their body structure? Or all of these? Although many studies have been done using real female guppies for attraction, few experiments have been conducted using female models from a 3D printer. With all the vivid colors the 3D printer has to offer, we decided to create a bright red female guppy to stand out from the other models. Therefore we hypothesize that if female guppies are more colorful than other female guppies, then the male will be more attracted to them. In order to potentially support our hypothesis, we conducted our experiments in a controlled setting. We did multiple trials with various sizes and colors of guppies. We found that the guppy spent more time with and displayed more sexual behaviors towards the models that were colorful as well as the ones that were both smaller or larger than the control model, thus supporting our hypothesis. With our approach to this research, we hope to gain insight on sexual selection with guppies and potentially apply this to wild animals and real life scenarios.

Keywords: sexual selection, guppies, Gonopodial swinging, sigmoid curves, 3D printing


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