Doing the Guppy Dance: Studying the Difference in Courtship Behaviors by Male Poecilia reticulata towards Varying Sizes of Female Guppy Models

Rachel Frances Dolan, Alyssa Doherty, Joseph Fodor, charley paul farless, Kavya Boyina


The sexual selection of organisms plays a big role in the evolution of species. Male guppies, particularly Poecilia reticulata, demonstrate mate choice through various courting behaviors towards female guppies. These sexual behaviors include sigmoid curves, gonopodial swings, fin fanning, and biting. There is a probability of higher fitness among larger females because they lay larger eggs than smaller females. Therefore, male guppies may select to mate with larger females. The goal of our experiment was to study if male guppies are attracted to larger females. This was tested by exposing male guppies to two 3-D models of female guppies, one of standard size (102001) and one of huge size (102008). Ten male guppies were exposed to the female models for 5 minutes. The data collected showed that, on average, the male guppies had no preference towards either female model. This was concluded because the result was statistically insignificant. This does not support our hypothesis that the male guppies will spend more time with, and demonstrate more mating behaviors towards, the larger female decoy due to the probability of its higher fitness, as compared to the standard size.

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