Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology

, Volume 32, Issue 6, pp 415–420 | Cite as

Female choice of multiple male criteria in guppies: interacting effects of dominance, coloration and courtship

  • Astrid Kodric-Brown


I experimentally examined the relative importance of social dominance, color patterns, and courtship behavior in male mating and reproductive success in the guppy Poecilia reticulata. Female choice of males is based on a complex set of behavioral and morphological traits. The results of 59 paired-male one-female visual choice and mating trials showed that male mating success was positively correlated with dominance, courtship intensity, and male coloration. Only dominant males engaged in full copoulations, and they sired two-thirds of the broods. An analysis of the paternity of broods and results of mating trials showed that a female's visual response when the sexes are separated by a glass partition is a good predictor of a male's reproductive success when the partition is removed and they are allowed to mate. A canonical correlation analysis of male behavioral and morphological traits indicated that female visual response and male mating success were positively correlated with male courtship and with agonistic behavior. However, the relative importance of color varied. Carotenoid and iridescent spots were important both in attracting the female's attention and in enhancing male mating success. Melanins were not correlated with either mating success or female response. There was a relatively low correlation (48%) between male behavioral and morphological variables and female response variables (full copulation and female visual response). These results suggest that female choice is subtle, and is based on a complex suite of male behavioral and morphological traits as well as on competitive interactions among males.


Carotenoid Morphological Trait Canonical Correlation Analysis Female Choice Courtship Behavior 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Astrid Kodric-Brown
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BiologyUniversity of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA

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