, Volume 39, Issue 6, pp 395-400

Consensus among females in their choice of males in the guppy Poecilia reticulata

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We studied female guppies from two populations (Trinidad and Jemez Springs, New Mexico) to determine their mating preferences, the degree of consensus among females for particular male phenotypes, and the variation among females for the types of traits they prefer. We recorded the visual responses of 68 Trinidad and 10 Jemez females in paired male trials. The three sexually-selected male traits quantified were the area of orange color and iridescence on the body, and display behavior. Females from the Trinidad population agreed in their choice of males in three of the eight replicates, and this agreement was based on display rate rather than male color patterns. Females from the Jemez population showed no agreement in their preferences of males. Mating preferences of females varied both between populations and among females of a population. In both populations, female preferences were based primarily on courtship intensity and only secondarily on color pattern. However, females from both populations differed in the relative importance of orange color and iridescence. The fact that females differ in criteria for evaluating males has important implications for selection and maintenance of color polymorphisms and for the interactions among multiple secondary sexual traits of males in the guppy.

Received: 5 December 1995/Accepted after revision: 7 June 1996