Choosing One’s Mate: The Effects of size in Guppy Sexual Selection

Cody Brooks, caanan williams


Through many years of research, it has become widely known that guppies (Poecelia reticulata) choose their mating partners based on body size and skin coloration. The reoccurring problem is, most research on guppies is done in the wild; so there are many variables that researchers cannot control, and therefore most research is observational. To tackle this problem an experiment was created by the Oklahoma State University Biology Department (Boyles) that allowed for us to place the guppies in individualized environments, which allowed for the control of factors that would have been otherwise impossible. The experiment that we ran was a control-experimental design, created by Jason Brooks, which allowed us to place a single male guppy in an aquarium with two "female" mold models; once the experiment started we watched for any of the known mating rituals that relate to male guppies. From the experiment we have seen a wide range of responses from the males such as: no response to any model, to an attraction to one particular color, to even an attraction to both models. The information from this research will shine a light on how guppies choose their mating partner; is it based solely on size and color, or is it possible there is another variable that has been overlooked?

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