Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 17, Issue 3, pp 199–205

Female preference and sexual selection for male coloration in the guppy (Poecilia reticulata)

  • Astrid Kodric-Brown

DOI: 10.1007/BF00300137

Cite this article as:
Kodric-Brown, A. Behav Ecol Sociobiol (1985) 17: 199. doi:10.1007/BF00300137


Experiments were designed to determine the effects of male pigmentation patterns on female choice in guppies. When presented with a series of variably-colored males, females of different genetic strain consistently exhibited similar preferences (Tables 1 and 2), preferring those males with the greatest development of both carotenoid and iridescent pigments (Table 3). A partial rank correlation analysis of pigments of males indicates positive correlations between the iridescent and carotenoid pigments and also between melanins and showiness (Table 4). Only when either the carotenoid or iridescent pigments were held constant was there any effect of the other pigments on the ranking order of males by the females. Other pigments appear to be relatively unimportant in influencing female choice of males. These results indicate that females discriminate among males on the basis of color and that females of different strains prefer the same male colors rather than those characteristics of males of their own strain. The results support those models of sexual selection that hold that sexually selected traits honestly advertise the phenotypic and genetic qualities of males; they do not support models of runaway selection for particular male traits, such as first proposed by Fisher (1930).

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1985

Authors and Affiliations

  • Astrid Kodric-Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Ecology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of ArizonaTucsonUSA

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