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This study examined how guppies, Poecilia reticulata, vary courtship behavior upon encountering social environments differing in sex ratio. I observed males and virgin females in social environments of varying sex ratios and noted the males’ display and sneaky copulation attempt frequencies, the time a male pursued the focal female, and female responsiveness. I also examined a focal pair’s courtship behavior over a 24-hr period and when in the presence of an audience male at different proximities to them. Males increased their display rates in a social environment with other individuals, significantly so in an all-male environment. Males also increased sneaky copulation attempt rates in the all-male and all-female environments. Females were more responsive to males with other individuals present than when alone with a focal male. Males did not adjust their courtship behavior in response to a single audience male, but they decreased their courtship behavior over 24-hrs. These results suggest guppies may adjust their courtship tactics in different social environments; in so doing they may maximize their mating success.


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