, Volume 51, Issue 4, pp 316-320

Female mate preference based on male orange spot patterns in the feral guppy Poecilia reticulata in Japan

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Abstract

It is known that females prefer males with larger and/or brighter orange spots in many populations of the guppy Poecilia reticulata. However, female preference for male orange spots varies among populations and changes within several years when they are introduced into new habitats with different environment. Guppies were introduced into Okinawa, Japan, more than 20 years ago and were subjected to natural and sexual selection for a long period. The female preference for orange spot patterns of males was examined by the dichotomous choice experiment for a feral guppy population of the Hiji River, Okinawa. We chose full-sibling males as a pair of stimulus males that were simultaneously presented to a test female, because sibling males should resemble each other. To create different orange spot patterns between stimulus males, one male of the stimulus male pair was fed carotenoid-supplement food such as algae and another male was fed low-carotenoid food. High-carotenoid-treatment males showed not only brighter coloration of orange spots but also larger spots than other males as a result of this dietary-manipulation. In the dichotomous choice experiment, females preferred the high-carotenoid-treatment males. In addition, logistic regression analysis clarified that brighter coloration of male orange spots was the most important factor for female mate preference. This finding suggests indirect benefits of female preference for male orange spot patterns if the male foraging ability for algae were heritable.