College - Author 1

College of Science and Mathematics

Department - Author 1

Biological Sciences Department

Degree Name - Author 1

BS in Biological Sciences



Primary Advisor

Gita Kolluru


Guppies, Poecilia reticulata, are a model species for studies of female preference based on male courtship displays; however, males also display to each other in an aggressive context, and little attention has been paid to the role of male-male displays. The display involves a male positioning his body in front or to the side of another male, arching his body, and quivering with his dorsal fin splayed. To understand what behaviors elicit a male display, we assigned individual males a dominance status. We then examined the relationship between dominance status and the number of displays delivered and received. By knowing the status of a displaying individual, we can better understand whether the display is given more often by dominant or subordinate individuals. Our results showed no significant correlation between dominance status and display rate; however, we found a significant relationship between the number of displays received and the number of displays delivered. Additionally, we found that a display is most often followed by aggression (nips and chases) by the other male rather than aggression by the focal male. Our results suggest that the display is a subtle form of aggression that escalates agonistic interactions. It also may serve to convey information about male quality (e.g. by displaying color patterns) and aggressive intent.

Senior Project Title Page.doc (23 kB)
Title Page