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Eukaryon

Class Year

2009

Abstract

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.

Disclaimer

Eukaryon is published by students at Lake Forest College, who are solely responsible for its content. The views expressed in Eukaryon do not necessarily reflect those of the College. Articles published within Eukaryon should not be cited in bibliographies. Material contained herein should be treated as personal communication and should be cited as such only with the consent of the author.

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