Male guppy mate preference based on size and color

Haley Freeland, Savannah Donnell, Riley Dilbeck, Nathan Foster, Brooklyn Gissendaner, Sarah Bounds


Male guppies show mate preference and display certain courtship behaviors to attract their preferred females. Male guppies have been shown to prefer larger females and females displaying warmer colors (600-700 nm wavelength). For our experiment, we wanted to test whether or not male guppies would continue to prefer larger females when presented with two models both displaying blue body color (400-500 nm wavelength). We tested this by using 3D printed models and observing male guppy courtship behaviors. We hypothesized that, even if both models were displaying the same blue color, male guppies would prefer the large model over the standard size model, as a larger female would have a reproductive advantage over a smaller one. Based on our data, our hypothesis was unsupported. The male guppies spent substantially more time near the very large model but did not display courtship behaviors towards either model. Future studies using models that more closely resemble live fish could expand on our findings. 

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