Bent, Not Broken: How sexual selection in Poecilia reticulate is effected by scoliosis.

Natalie Mckinney, Sydney McDaniel, Rosa Gorham, Bryce Johnson, Katerina Ramos


Female guppies tend to select vibrant color and larger males due to their high fitness level. Scoliosis is a spinal deformity found in guppies that can make them seem unfit for reproduction and may decrease the chance of a male courting them. In our experiment we tested if male Poecilia reticulata would show more courtship behaviors to a grey tone female model with scoliosis or a grey tone female model with no deformities. We hypothesized that the male P. reticulata will spend more time and show more courtship behaviors to the control female due to the model seeming more fit and better for reproduction. Our results supported our hypothesis. The male guppies spent a higher average on the left side of the tank and displayed a higher average of courtship behaviors towards the control model. We hypothesize that a fish displaying scoliosis would be less fit for reproduction. Future studies should use wild and more colorful Poecilia reticulata. Similar studies show that diseases and deformities play a role in sexual selection and mating behaviors.

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