Can you smell the love tonight: How olfactory cues affect a male guppy’s attraction to a female guppy (Poecilia reticulata)

Grace Berryhill, Abby Curlee, Nuvia Gonzalez, Taner Hale, Jay Walton


The olfactory system of a Poecilia reticulata allows for the identification of individuals and the ability to detect odors from the surrounding environment on other organisms. We hypothesize that a male guppy will be more attracted to a female model with no male olfactory cues on them, than a model containing olfactory cues; because a male will assume that the model with no olfactory cues will be less likely to already have their eggs fertilized. We ran ten, five minute trials, using a different male guppy for each trial. Between each trial, we rinsed our models with distilled water and then dipped one model into water from a tank containing male guppies. Our results revealed that the male guppy spent more time on the side with the model that was exposed to the cues than the model that was not exposed. Therefore, our hypothesis was not supported. We suggest that future studies and experiments consider the effect of the olfactory system on sexual attraction of male guppies to females.

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