Female preference for blue in Japan blue guppies (Poecilia reticulata)
Couldridge, Vanessa C. K.
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Guppies (Poecilia reticulata) are widely used as a model species in mate choice studies. Although native to South America, guppies have been introduced to natural water bodies in disparate regions of the globe. Here, for the first time, we examine guppies from one such introduced population in Japan where males have evolved a predominantly blue color pattern. Previous studies of wild-type guppies have shown blue to play a relatively minor role in the mate choice decisions of females compared to other traits, such as orange, and the importance of blue is not universally supported by all studies. The Japanese population therefore presents an ideal opportunity to re-examine the potential significance of blue as a mate choice cue in guppies. Mate choice experiments, in which female Japan blue guppies were given a choice between pairs of males that differed in their area of blue coloration but were matched for other traits, revealed that females prefer males with proportionately larger amounts of blue in their color patterns. We discuss possible factors, including sexual and ecological selection, which may have led to the evolution of unusually large areas of blue at the expense of other colors in Japan blue guppies. However, further studies are needed to distinguish between these scenarios.