Presence of a Gravid Spot Influences Male Mate Choice in Poecilia reticulate

Allison Baker, Haley Camren, Jeremy Kaplan


Studies have shown that certain factors (i.e. color, size, and age) may influence the mating preferences of the male Poecilia reticulate, or guppies.   Because coloration, shape and size have been observed to influence mating preference, evidence of successful breeding (i.e. female gravid spot) may prove to be another factor for male guppy attraction as well. Since this is a relatively new and understudied aspect of mate attraction in guppy research, our study primarily focused on the strength of attraction when a male is in the presence of a female guppy with a gravid spot. Also, most studies are done on female mate choice, while we are focusing on the mate choices of the male (Newsom, et al, 2015; Godin, Briggs, 1996; Kodric-Brown, 1993; MacLaren, 2006).  Male mate choice has been observed in other species, such as the stickleback and Siamese fighting fish (Rowland, 1982; Dzieweczynski, et al, 2006). To mimic the various parameters displayed on typical guppies while changing particular characteristics (i.e., the presence of a gravid spot), we used 3D printing to create models of female guppies that were designed based on selected parameters that would serve as control and experimental groups.  We observed the amount of time a male guppy spent with different female model guppies and their courting behaviors in order to study the factors that may affect male choice. The key impact of our research is to help figure out the cues that fish use to select mates in order to help other scientists.  Our results showed that the male guppies spent more time, on average, with the female guppy with the gravid spot. This could be because the females that have a gravid spot have proven that they can produce offspring.

Full Text:



Brooks, R., Endler, J.A. 2001. Direct and indirect sexual selection in quantitative genetics of male traits in guppies (Poecilia reculata). Evolution. 55(5), 1002-1015.

Bruck, J., Stewart, J., Boyles, K. BIOL 1114 Research Project #4. Supplementary Research Manual. March 31, 2015.

Constantz, G.D. 1989. Reproductive biology of poecilid fishes. Ecology and Evolution of Livebearing Fishes. Prentice Hall, Englewood Coliffs, NJ.

Dzieweczynski, T.L., Bessler, A.M., Shelton, D.S., Rowland, W.F. 2006. Effect of a dummy audience on Male-Male interactions in Siamese fighting fish. Behavioral Processes, 85(2), 83-89.

Dosen, L.D., Montgomerie, R. 2004. Female Size Influences Mate Preferences of Male Guppies. Ethology. 110(3), 245-255.

French, D. 2014. Investigating Biology, 2014 Edition. Fountainhead Press, Southlake, TX.

Godin J.G.J., Briggs, S.E. 1996. Female mate choice under predation risk in the guppy. Animal Behavior. 51:117-130.

Herdman, E.J., Kelly, C.D., Godin, J.J. 2004. Male mate choice in the guppy (Poecilia reticulate): Do Males prefer larger females as mates? Ethology. 110, 97-111.

Houde, A. E. 1997. Sex, color and mate choice in guppies. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ.

Kodric-Brown, A. 1993. Female choice of multiple male criteria in guppies—interacting effects of dominance , coloration and courtship. Behav Ecol Scoiobiol. 32:415-420.

Lee, K.M., Daubnerova, I., Isaac, R.E., Zhang, C., Choi, S., Chung, J., Kim, Y.J. 2015. A neuronal pathway that control sperm ejection and storage in female Drosphila. Current Biology. 25(6), 790-797.

MacLaren, R.D. 2006. The effects of male proximity, apparent size, and absolute size on female preference in the sailfin molly, Poecilia latipinna. Behavior, 143(12), 1457-1472.

Newsom, C., James, N., Balkus J., Gifford, K. 2015. The Use of Video Presentation in Female Guppy Male Choice Experiments. Journal of Introductory Biology Investigation. 2(3).

Rowland, W.J. 1982. Mate choice by male sticklebacks, Gasterosteus aculeatus. Animal Behavior. 30(4), 1093-1098.

Wong, B.B.M., Jennions, M.D. 2003. Costs influence male mate choice in a freshwater fish. R. Soc. Lond. 270, S36-S38.


  • There are currently no refbacks.