Original Paper

Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 64, Issue 10, pp 1601-1607

First online:

Inbreeding level does not induce female discrimination between sibs and unrelated males in guppies

  • Palestina Guevara-FioreAffiliated withDepartment of Animal & Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield Email author 
  • , Gunilla RosenqvistAffiliated withDepartment of Biology, Centre for Conservation Biology, Norwegian University of Science and Technology
  • , Penelope J. WattAffiliated withDepartment of Animal & Plant Sciences, University of Sheffield

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Significant empirical evidence has demonstrated the importance of discriminative mate choice as a mechanism to avoid inbreeding. Incestuous mating can be avoided by recognition of kin. The guppy, Poecilia reticulata, is a livebearer with a polygamous mating system and active female choice. Despite potential inbreeding costs in the guppy, Viken et al. (Ethology 112:716–723, 2006) and Pitcher et al. (Genetica 134:137–146, 2008) have found that females do not discriminate between sibs and unrelated males. However, populations experiencing different inbreeding histories can have different levels of inbreeding avoidance, and it is possible that the lack of inbreeding avoidance observed in guppies is a consequence of using outbred fish only. Here we tested the preference of female guppies with different inbreeding coefficients, for olfactory cues of males that were either unrelated but had the same inbreeding coefficient, or were related (i.e. brother) with the same inbreeding coefficient. We found no evidence that female guppies preferred unrelated males with the same inbreeding coefficient. Moreover, inbreeding level did not influence female preference for unrelated males, suggesting that inbreeding history in a population has no influence on female discrimination of unrelated males in guppies.


Sexual selection Olfactory cues Odour Mate choice Female preference