, Volume 50, Issue 4, pp 346-351

Female choice in the guppy (Poecilia reticulata): the interaction between male color and display

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Abstract.

The effect of two components of male courtship, color and display behavior, on female choice of mates was investigated in the guppy (Poecilia reticulata). Computer-modified videos were constructed to determine the relative importance of a static trait, the presence or absence of carotenoid pigment (C and NC), and a dynamic trait, high and low display rate (HD and LD), on female response. Females were given a choice between all combinations of male display and color in a binary choice design. Preference was determined by the time females spent visually inspecting the animation. Females preferred animations with high display rates when both animations displayed color (CHD vs CLD), but not in the absence of color (NCHD vs NCLD). Equal numbers of females chose the color/low-display animation and the no-color/high-display animation when the two were paired. Conversely, color became a criterion of choice when both animations showed a low display rate (CLD vs NCLD), but not when both displayed at a high rate (CHD vs NCHD). These results suggest that females use both static and dynamic traits to evaluate males, but their rankings are affected by the choices available. Results of these experiments provide insights into how females use multiple traits to assess males.

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