Seeing is Believing: Observed Presence of Fry on Male Mate Choice in Poecilia reticulata

Kayley Bradley, Phoebe Austerman, Hayden Burnett, keinan bazile, Shauni Windle


The guppy, Poecilia reticulata, is a freshwater fish commonly utilized in mate choice experiments. Male guppies display well-documented mating behaviors, and tend to display more mating behaviors towards females that they perceive to have a higher rate of fecundity, as exemplified by past experiments involving female models with a gravid spot. Our group hypothesized that another way to signify female fertility would be to place fry around her, to show that she is capable of producing offspring. Our experiment involved creating a 3D-printed female guppy model with two fry above and below her, as well as creating a duplicate model without fry. After placing them both in the tank with a male, we documented which side of the tank the male spent more time on and listed off his mating behaviors that he performed. Our data, however, was inconclusive; the male really didn’t express strong preference towards either model.

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