Guppy Behavior Essay

1751 words - 8 pages


The environment plays a major role in shaping animal behavior; when animals experience a sudden change in environmental conditions they require time and energy to adjust; resulting in less time and energy that could otherwise be spent courting and mating (Chapman et al., 2009; Freeman, 2010). Poecilia reticulata, are ideal organism for studying courtship behavior due to the year round sexual activeness of males, as well as their highly conspicuous display of courtship (Mozart, 1998). In this experiment we tested the hypothesis that a change in water temperature will significantly affect the courtship behavior of P. reticulata, due to the ...view middle of the document...

Organisms require resources in order to survive, grow, and reproduce. However, all organisms are limited by the amount of time and energy they can devote to survival and reproduction; thus organisms must choose between maximizing survivorship, or maximizing fecundity (i.e. female reproduction rate) (Guevara-Fiore et al., 2010). Therefore when animals experience a sudden change in environmental conditions they require time and energy to adjust; so by increasing the energy devoted to maintenance, animals decrease the resources available for reproducing (Chapman et al., 2009; Freeman, 2010). The balance between maximizing survival or reproduction is a fitness tradeoff, which will lead to other tradeoffs (Freeman, 2010). While for the most part females are usually the sex recognized for providing more investment in their young (i.e. they pay higher energetic costs to reproduce) recent studies suggest more emphasis should be placed on importance of males and their reproductive efforts; male deserve acknowledgement for the great deal of strain and energy they too put into reproducing (Guevara-Fiore et al., 2010; Jordan and Brooks, 2010). Courtship behaviors generally demand high amounts of energy; so when males are forced to adjust to new environmental conditions, thus allocating their resources to maximize their individual survival, their reproductive effort will decrease (Jordan and Brook, 2010)
Poecilia reticulata, more commonly known as guppies, are live bearing fish (i.e females give birth to live offspring); they are ideal organism for studying courtship behavior due to the year round sexual activeness of males, as well as their highly conspicuous display of courtship (Mozart, 1998). Male courtship consists of the male guppy displaying its dorsal fin to the female, followed by its attempt to thrust at the female guppy (Mozart, 1998). Both male and female P. reticulata will undergo a sudden change in water temperature from what they are accustomed to. Any changes in courtship or mating behavior among the guppies in warm and room temperature water treatments will be observed and recorded so that we can determine if and to what extent their courtship behavior is affected by temperature changes in their environment. The purpose of this experiment was to observe and analyze how mating habits are affected by a sudden change in environmental conditions, and investigate the role of temperature on animal behavior. In this experiment we tested the hypothesis that a change in water temperature will significantly affect the courtship behavior of Poecilia reticulata. We predicted that the male guppies would spend less time courting the female guppies in the warm water, because adjusting to the new environmental conditions will cost the guppies both time and energy, resulting in less time and energy for males to spend courting and mating with females (Chapman et al., 2009; Freeman, 2010).

Material and Methods
In our study we used a small species of fish...

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