Do male guppies distinguish virgin females from recently mated ones?

Guevara-Fiore, P., Skinner, A. and Watt, P. J. 2009, Do male guppies distinguish virgin females from recently mated ones?, Animal behaviour, vol. 77, no. 2, pp. 425-431, doi: 10.1016/j.anbehav.2008.10.018.

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Title Do male guppies distinguish virgin females from recently mated ones?
Author(s) Guevara-Fiore, P.
Skinner, A.
Watt, P. J.
Journal name Animal behaviour
Volume number 77
Issue number 2
Start page 425
End page 431
Publisher Elsevier
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2009-02
ISSN 0003-3472
Keyword(s) alternative mating strategies
female mating status
female reproductive status
male mate choice
Poecilia reticulata
sexual selection
Summary In some mating systems males should benefit from mating with virgin females because of their higher reproductive value. We determined experimentally whether and how males distinguish between virgin and recently mated females in the guppy, Poecilia reticulata, a promiscuous livebearer. In a free-swimming experiment, males showed flexible mating behaviour by adjusting their tactics according to the mating status of the female they encountered, virgin or mated. Males followed, nipped and copulated with virgins more than with mated females, but they performed more sneaky copulations with mated females, possibly because the latter were more reluctant to mate than virgin females. When, in another set of experiments, males received only the visual cues of both virgins and mated females they showed no preference for either, but when they were exposed only to the female olfactory cues, they associated considerably more with the smell of virgin females. These results suggest that male guppies assess female behavioural and olfactory cues to determine female virginity and then use different mating tactics depending on the female's status. It is possible that the changes in male mating behaviour increase male reproductive success.
Language eng
DOI 10.1016/j.anbehav.2008.10.018
Field of Research 060803 Animal Developmental and Reproductive Biology
Socio Economic Objective 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2008, The Association for the Study of Animal Behaviour
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