Heritability of male secondary sexual traits in feral guppies in Japan


Secondary sexual traits of male guppies show remarkable geographic variation, and male guppies can flexibly change the conspicuousness of their sexual traits within a few generations when they are introduced into new habitats. We examined the degree of conspicuousness and heritabilities of male secondary sexual traits in a feral guppy population in Okinawa, a subtropical island of Japan. Male guppies in this population showed high variation of their sexual traits such as dorsal and caudal fin lengths and red-orange color spot patterns on their bodies. Offspring–parent regressions revealed significant heritabilities of male body size, dorsal and caudal fin lengths, and the number and relative area of orange spots. Especially, the high heritability of the relative orange spot area of sons compared to that of fathers suggests some Y chromosome-linked contribution of the trait. On the other hand, coloration (hue and saturation) of orange spots did not show significant inheritance, probably because most components of orange spot coloration may be condition-dependent traits. These results compared with previous work in native guppy populations suggest female mate preferences based upon these male secondary sexual traits and low predation pressure in this population.

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Received: June 19, 2000 / Accepted: September 18, 2000

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Karino, K., Haijima, Y. Heritability of male secondary sexual traits in feral guppies in Japan. J Ethol 19, 33–37 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1007/s101640170015

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  • Key words Heritability
  • Sexual selection
  • Secondary sexual traits
  • Poecilia reticulata