, Volume 137, Issue 1, pp 62–68 | Cite as

Sex-biased movement in the guppy (Poecilia reticulata)

  • Darren P. CroftEmail author
  • Brett Albanese
  • Bethany J. Arrowsmith
  • Marc Botham
  • Michael Webster
  • Jens Krause
Population Ecology


The movement strategies of birds and mammals are often closely linked to their mating system, but few studies have examined the relationship between mating systems and movement in fishes. We examined the movement patterns of the guppy (Poecilia reticulata) in the Arima river of Trinidad and predicted that sexual asymmetry in reproductive investment would result in male-biased movement. Since male guppies maximize their reproductive success by mating with as many different females as possible, there should be strong selection for males to move in search of mates. In agreement with our prediction, the percentage of fish that emigrated from release pools was higher for males than females (27.3% vs. 6.9%, respectively). Sex ratio was highly variable among pools and may influence a male's decision to emigrate or continue moving. We also detected a positive relationship between body length and the probability of emigration for males and a significant bias for upstream movement by males. Among the few females that did emigrate, a positive correlation was observed between body length and distance moved. Sex-biased movement appears to be related to mating systems in fishes, but the evidence is very limited. Given the implications for ecology, evolution, and conservation, future studies should explicitly address the influence of sex and mating systems on movement patterns.


Total length Dispersal Emigration Mating systems Population structure 



D. P. C. was supported by a Frank Parkinson Scholarship from the University of Leeds. We would also like to thank James Gilliam and the Asa Wright Nature Centre for access to equipment and laboratory space, Anne Magurran for valuable discussions and Graeme Ruxton and two anonymous referees for valuable comments on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Darren P. Croft
    • 1
    Email author
  • Brett Albanese
    • 2
    • 3
  • Bethany J. Arrowsmith
    • 1
  • Marc Botham
    • 1
  • Michael Webster
    • 1
  • Jens Krause
    • 1
  1. 1.School of Biology University of LeedsLeedsUK
  2. 2.Department of ZoologyNorth Carolina State UniversityRaleighUSA
  3. 3.Georgia Department of Natural ResourcesGeorgia Natural Heritage ProgramSE Social CircleUSA

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