Date of Award


Culminating Project Type


Degree Name

Biological Sciences - Ecology and Natural Resources: M.S.




College of Science and Engineering

First Advisor

Anthony Marcattilio

Second Advisor

Heiko Schoenfuss

Third Advisor

Nathan Hampton

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Keywords and Subject Headings

predation, stress, copying, behavior, fish, guppies


Mate choice copying has been surmised to be an adaptive alternative mating strategy utilized by females of many species. However, studies have shown that domesticated variants of wild species no longer possess this evolutionary trait. To determine if this trait could be induced, domestic guppies (Poecilia reticulata) were exposed to predatory chemical cues for either 3- or 4-day periods. Female domestic guppies underwent preference testing (PT) followed by mate choice copying (MCC) trials pre-stress to establish baseline data and confirm an absence of MCC behavior. After pre-tests, females were placed in a stress tank where water from an aquarium housing a predator (Crenicichla saxatilis) was circulated throughout the tank. Females then underwent post-stress preference and mate choice copying tests. None of the females exhibited copying behavior in the pre-stress trials while a 25% incidence of mate choice copying post-stress was observed. The results of this study therefore indicate that predation stress via predatory chemical cues induces MCC behavior and strengthens the theory that this behavior is adaptive in wild populations.

Available for download on Saturday, April 20, 2019