Mating Season: Color, Size Variation Results in Male Exploration

Zachary Morrison, Greg Mulholland, Chathurika Henpita


In this particular study, we aim to conduct an experiment of which will analyze the factors that influence male and female guppies to mate with each other. In order to discover results related to these factors, we ask the key research question; why do some guppies attract more mates than others? (French 2014). Studies of animal personalities that include sexual behavior, or functionally distinct but correlated traits, are relatively scarce, (Kelly, 2013). Although prior research has identified specific aspects on guppies such as size and color variation, this does not adequately answer our question because it lacks evidence of which supports a reasoning behind mating choices. The methodology we are going to use to answer our question consists of creating a tank with a “left choice” and “right choice” zone, while also labeling the middle as a “no choice” zone. We will then place a male guppy in the tank, followed by a model guppy on the right and left side of the tank, in order to simulate female guppies. These models will help us collect both behavioral observations and data through recording how much time the male guppy spends on either side while observing his actions. This collected behavioral data supports reasoning behind mate choice because more interaction indicates a liking towards the particular aspects of the guppy. Our result implications of how male guppies have a preference towards larger, colorful female guppies can be used by other researchers to further their knowledge and conclude other theories involved with guppy mating tactics.

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