Meeting Abstract

P3.162  Friday, Jan. 6  UV and mate choice in the sailfin molly, Poecilia latipinna PALMER, MS; HANKISON, SJ*; Ohio Wesleyan University; Ohio Wesleyan University sjhankis@owu.edu

There is growing evidence that the ultraviolet (UV) spectrum plays an important role in social communications for numerous vertebrates. Prior studies have demonstrated that UV characteristics in some fishes are influential during social behaviors such as courtship. However, not all fish possess UV markings or the ability to perceive UV wavelengths (300-400 nm). We sought to discover whether UV features were present in the sailfin molly, Poecilia latipinna, and to determine whether UV plays a role in female mate preference. UV-reflective areas were spectroscopically detected on the bodies of male and female mollies. We then conducted behavioral experiments, exposing females to males whose visual appearance was manipulated by filters that either transmitted or blocked UV wavelengths. Female mollies significantly preferred males displaying UV traits. Our results suggest that sailfin mollies rely on information in the UV as well as visual wavebands when making visual mate choice decisions.