Guppy Speed Dating: Male Mate Preference in Poecilia reticulata

Michelle Weinstein, Brooke Zimmer


There are many animals that use their color, size, and other physical characteristics to attract and signal mates. Guppies in particular are known for using their colorful features to attract mates, as well for blending in with the colorful gravel in the streams in which they preside. While it is mostly the male guppies who inherit their multicolored features, the females also have features that are attractive to males. These include their size, shape, and the presence of a darkened spot on their abdomen signifying that they are a virgin. For this experiment we used 3D printed models of guppies that were put into a tank with a real male guppy. We hypothesized that the male would be more attracted to the models that were brightly colored, compared to the grey colored control models. Our results found that the males were in fact more attracted to the colorful guppies, particularly the bright yellow ones. This was observed by measuring the amount of time the male guppy spent in the side of the tank where the colored model was.

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