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1 June 2007 Relationship Between Algal-Foraging Ability and Expression of Sexually Selected Traits in Male Guppies
Kenji Karino, Shinya Shinjo
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In the guppy Poecilia reticulata, males exhibit orange spots on their body and tail, and the orange spot patterns are often criteria for female mate choice. The orange spot coloration of males is determined by the intake of algae, a natural source of carotenoids. Therefore, males exhibiting conspicuous orange coloration are considered to possess high algal-foraging ability. In the present study, we examined the influence of algal-foraging ability, measured by algal-searching ability and algal-foraging frequency, on the expression of orange spot patterns and on other sexually selected traits in male guppies. Males exhibiting better performance in terms of both algal-searching ability and algal-foraging frequency grew larger. The size of the orange spots on males also increased with algal-foraging ability. However, neither algal-searching ability nor algal-foraging frequency influenced the coloration of the orange spots. In this experiment, a limited supply of carotenoids possibly prevented the males from completely developing their spots to the intrinsic size. The results of this study suggest that in male guppies under a carotenoid-limited situation, the allocation of carotenoids is directed toward enlargement of the size of the orange spots rather than enhancement of their coloration. Since both the body size and orange spot patterns of males contribute to their sexual attractiveness to females, high algal-foraging ability may enhance their mating success.

Kenji Karino and Shinya Shinjo "Relationship Between Algal-Foraging Ability and Expression of Sexually Selected Traits in Male Guppies," Zoological Science 24(6), 571-576, (1 June 2007).
Received: 9 November 2006; Accepted: 1 February 2007; Published: 1 June 2007
carotenoid-based coloration
foraging behavior
Poecilia reticulata
sexual selection
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