The effect of dropsy disease, shown on female guppies of the species Poecilia reticulate, on the male’s mating habits

Hannah Blakley, Sierra Williams, Myriam Achour


The mating process in freshwater guppies indicate male and female preferences in their mates. Males court the females using a number of techniques that can be observed physically, including actions such as gonopodal swinging, biting the female, sigmoid curving and fin fanning. Dropsy is bacterial disease that results in an inflammation in the abdomen of the fish, decreasing the fitness of the infected guppy. We hypothesized that the diseased female model guppy will not be courted as often as the healthy one based on her decreased fitness. We concluded that there was nearly an equal amount of interest shown in both models by the male guppy, in terms of time spent with them as well as courting actions performed on them. This could be due to the small difference in body measurements of our models or the fact that some male guppies prefer females with a larger body size. 

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