Validation of a virtual 3-D fish model for studying mate-choice copying in sailfin mollies, <em>Poecilia latipinna</em> — ASN Events

Validation of a virtual 3-D fish model for studying mate-choice copying in sailfin mollies, Poecilia latipinna (#41)

Stefanie Gierszewski 1 , Klaus Müller 2 , Jan-Marco Hütwohl 2 , Klaus-Dieter Kuhnert 2 , Klaudia Witte 1
  1. Institute of Biology, University of Siegen, Siegen, Germany
  2. Institute of Real-Time Learning Systems, University of Siegen, Siegen, Germany

Female sailfin mollies (Poecilia latipinna) benefit from two possible strategies for assessing adequate mating partners. They can either rely on personal information gained by personal evaluation of a given male, or they can rely on public information gained by observing choices and behavior of conspecifics. The mate-choice of a conspecific female can alter the behavior of the observing female hence that she chooses the same male as mating partner. In this case, the observing female copies the mate-choice of the conspecific female. What exact information is perceived by the choosing females and what then triggers copying behavior is still not completely known.

To test the relevance of quality and quantity of visual information content during mate-choice, we take advantage of computer animated fish that can be manipulated in both morphology and behavior, leaving all other parameters constant. Here we present data on design and implementation of virtual 3-D sailfin mollies, that were created based on textures and morphology of the lab population using the custom made FishCreator. We show how usability and acceptance of computer animated stimuli can be validated in the context of mate-choice by comparing them to other stimuli (video fish, real fish). A common parameter measured in mate-choice experiments, association time, was assessed and compared for different stimulus pairs to give information about attractiveness of the used stimuli.

  1. Witte K, Nöbel S (2011) Learning and mate choice. In: Brown C, Laland K, Krause J, editors. Fish Cognition and Behavior. New York: Wiley-Blackwell. 81–107.