How a Diseased Appearance Affects Guppy Mate Choice

Carly Driskill, Benjamin Nelson, Katelynn Dunlap, Alexis Garcia, Abby Crouse


Mating behavior has been a subject of interest in many research studies, as there are many factors that can affect mate choice. We were interested to see how a diseased appearance, specifically the appearance of the disease Ichthyophthirius multifiliis, affects mate choice in guppies. We hypothesized that a male guppy will prefer a model without white spots compared to a model with white spots, because a diseased appearance suggests that the female will be less fit to produce offspring. We tested a cool gray model without spots against a cool gray model with spots for 5 minutes each and for 5 trials. Our results show that the male guppy spent more time on the side of the model with spots, but displayed more mating behavior towards the model without spots. Based on these results, we are unable to support our hypothesis. More studies and trials could be done to find out whether there is a preference or not and to reduce the possibility of error.

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