Revisiting old truths: The evolution of male coloration in guppies as a function of predation

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The Trinidadian guppy, Poecilia reticulata, is a long-studied model for the evolution of trade-offs in male nuptial coloration as a function of female mating preferences vs. predation risk. Previous work suggests that female mating preferences favour the evolution of increased conspicuous male coloration in low predation populations. In contrast, high predation risk shifts the balance towards reduced conspicuous coloration. In a From the Cover article in this issue of Molecular Ecology, Yong, Croft, Troscianko, Ramnarine, and Wilson (2021) use visual detection models to estimate the "conspicuousness" of male colour patterns as seen by guppies and their predators. The study fails to find robust patterns of increased conspicuousness in low predation populations. Only one of eight measures of conspicuousness showed parallel changes between high and low predation regimes, forcing us to reconsider the validity and repeatability of this classic example of parallel evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1333-1336
Number of pages4
JournalMolecular ecology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Mar 1 2022


  • ecological genetics
  • guppy
  • parallel selection
  • predation
  • sensory drive
  • sexual selection
  • visual ecology

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Genetics


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