A Guppy Date: How Color Affects the Male Guppy Preference Regarding Potential Mates

Clark Crotty, Jennifer Dotson, Colin Currie, Justin Agan


Every species of animal has some type of mating ritual that is vital to a species success. Most rituals involve males competing; leading to either the strongest or the most attractive male passing on their genes. However does the male have a preference when it comes to his mate? What makes some females worth fighting for more than others? These are the questions in which scientist pondered while observing streams obtaining guppy populations in the Trinidad, Galapagos area (French, 2014). To answer these questions, we decided to conduct an experiment in which we compared different physical changes of female guppies, and the male’s response to these guppy models when introduced to them. Based on this experiment our group hypothesized that the model guppy with the brightest coloration will attract more male attention than that of the control grey guppy. In the experiment a single male guppy, within a series of five trials, was exposed to two different female model guppies. We found that the female guppies with color attracted much more attention from the males than the grey control female. However there were often times where the male guppy showed no specific interest to either female guppy model.  Understanding guppy mating preferences is important due to the fact that in some cases the genetic pool can be lowered due to natural selection. 

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