AP Biology class blog for discussing current research in Biology

Tag: Color

Hot Guppies?

photo by Silvana Gericke

photo by Silvana Gericke

In a recent article from Nature, researchers observed mating patterns in guppies. While most guppies are plain in color, a few male guppies are vibrant and have interesting color variation. In the lab at Weill Cornell Medical College, it was seen that these colorful males father the most offspring. This is due to negative frequency-dependent selection, or the “rare-male effect“. Because the colorful male guppies are rare, they are attractive to female guppies looking for a mate. The variation in color is an effect from the guppies’ genes. Theoretically, these color variations were supposed to be “normal” a long time ago, because of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution. Rather than conforming to the common pattern, the few males that are colorful show bright colors and diverse patterns. Apparently this is due to the rare male effect. Female guppies simply prefer rare guppies and do not care for the pattern.

Although the results prove this theory in the lab, the researchers were doubtful that this happened in a natural setting. Therefore, the scientists went to Trinidad to see the guppies in their wild setting. They collected the colorful males, numbered them and then released them. Next, they waited for the guppies to mate and then counted their offspring. They did this twice. The first brood showed that the rare male effect was present, but the second did not. The researchers questioned, even though the effect was present in the first brood of offspring, the staying power of this effect. The scientists believed that the effect’s purpose was to prevent insect, which hinders the evolution of the fish.

Why are the mating patterns of guppies so important? What can they help us with in future research?

Here are some articles to further your knowledge in mating patterns and evolution



Is it Time for a New Hot Chocolate Mug?

Hot Chocolate in front of a fireplace on a cold winter’s day is one of life’s finest delights. And, according to research done at the Polytechnic University of Valencia and the University of Oxford, the flavor of your mom’s famous hot cocoa can be enhanced by the color of the mug you drink it out of. It has been found that drinking hot chocolate out of a cream or orange colored cup can improve the flavor. Researchers had fifty-seven people drink the same hot chocolate (unbeknownst to them) out of four differently colored cups: white, cream, red and orange with white on the inside. Most participants found that the beverage tasted best when had out of the orange and cream colored cups. This shows that the brain also takes into account visual stimuli, on top of flavor and aroma, when processing taste. Similar effects have been seen with other beverages as well. For instance, a yellow color improves the lemon flavor in certain soft drinks, a pink cup makes some drinks taste more sugary, and brown cups seem to give coffee move flavor. So, the next time you go to drink hot chocolate, make sure that you pick the cream or orange colored cup!

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