One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish: The effect of female color on male guppy sexual selection

Erin Massey, Zach Lewis, Heath Moorman, Ashlyn Mullin, Elizabeth Dawkins


Sexual selection in many species can be determined by many factors, such as size, shape and color of the mate being chased. For this lab we looked at female mate selection of male Poecilia reticulata, commonly known as guppies, to determine if the color of the female can influence whether or not the male fish chooses to attempt to attract and mate with a certain female. Overall, little evidence supported a stronger preference of one color fish over the other during our trials, which could be influenced by stress felt by our male fish during trials, as well as long standing evolutionary factors that affect a fish’s fitness and therefore mating preferences.

Full Text:



Baerans, G. P., P. R. Brouwer, and H. T. Waterbolk. 1955. Ethological studies on Lebistes reticulatus (Peters). I: An analysis of the male courtship pattern. Behavior 8: 249-334

Francis, E., M. Ogle, G. Penna, K. Perkins, and J. Wormington. 2015. I’m warming up to you: Male guppies are attracted to warm colored females. Journal of Introductory Biological Investigations. 2:5, 1-5.

Hendley, S., K. Gordon, A. Hawton, J. Riggs, 2015. Sexual Selection Preferences of Male Guppies on Red Pigmented Female Models. Journal of Introductory Biological Investigations. 3:4, 1-3.

Houde, AE, 1997. Sex, color, and mate choice in guppies. Princeton, NK: Princeton University Press.

Key, K., C. Sandefur, K. Pierce, A. Panditharathna, 2016. Does a Bright Red Color in a 3D Printed Female Guppy Affect the Male Guppy’s Sexual Behaviors. Journal of Introductory Biological Investigations. 4:4, 1-3.


  • There are currently no refbacks.