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Guppy maturation is influenced by the social setting

New article shows that maturation in male guppies is influenced by the social environment in which they grow.

The female guppy in the front is the social clue for the male guppy in the...
The female guppy in the front is the social clue for the male guppy in the background. The individuals are physically separated by a transparent wall.
Photo:
Beatriz Díaz Pauli

A new article published in the Journal of Evolutionary Biology, “The importance of social dimension and maturation stage for the probabilistic maturation reaction norm in Poecilia reticulata”, shows that growth and social environment affected the maturation in male guppies. Male guppies were reared in three different social environments: in visual contact with 1) a mature female (see the big figure below),  2) a mature male and 3) without any social interaction; and in two different feeding regimes (high and low food availability). This effect of growth and social environment on maturation process happened in ways that could not be accounted for by their effect on size and age. Importantly, the PMRNs estimated for initiation of maturation were less plastic than those estimated for the final maturation stages.

Full reference:

Díaz Pauli, B., and M. Heino. 2013. The importance of social dimension and maturation stage for the probabilistic maturation reaction norm in Poecilia reticulata. Journal of Evolutionary Biology 26:2184–2196. doi: 10.1111/jeb.12215.