Male-male association patterns and female proximity in the guppy, Poecilia reticulata

Lee Allan Dugatkin, Robert Craig Sargent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


If males differ in their ability to attract potential mates, and are able to perceive such differences, theory predicts they should distribute themselves in a manner that increases their probability of obtaining potential matings. The relationship between male-male association patterns and the proximity of females in social groups, however, remains virtually unexplored. Experimental analysis of this relationship in the guppy, Poecilia reticulata, demonstrates that in preference tests males showed a strong tendency to associate with other males that were further away from potential mates than they were themselves. Male guppies pursue a behavioral strategy that involves categorizing other males based on their proximity (and possibly relative attractiveness) to females, remembering the identity of such individuals, and using this information when choosing between other males as associates. Such a strategy may increase a male's chances of being the individual chosen by a female assessing nearby males.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)141-145
Number of pages5
JournalBehavioral Ecology and Sociobiology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1994


  • Association pattern
  • Guppy
  • Mate choice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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