Sexually selected displays often include suites of integrated traits. Black morph males of the poeciliid fish Girardinus metallicus perform courtship and aggressive displays that exhibit their conspicuous yellow and black coloration. Body size, gonopodium size and ventral black area are correlated with intermale aggression, which is key for access to mates. A previous study showed that females may prefer dominant males prior to watching them fight; however, that result was obtained in trials that allowed for male-male interactions across partitions, and to date no study has uncovered the traits important in female choice. We performed a more comprehensive investigation of the multicomponent sexual display including measures of male yellow hue, saturation and brightness. We examined the behavior of size-matched males paired to maximize the difference in yellow saturation, and measured female choice exclusive of male-male interactions and chemical cues. We found no female preference for any traits in the multicomponent sexual display. Males with brighter and more saturated yellow coloration were more likely to be dominant, and dominant males courted and attempted copulations more. Our results suggest that yellow coloration is sexually selected; however, the courtship display requires further investigation because we did not identify targets of female preference, and we discuss possible explanations for this finding.

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Keywords Brightness, Girardinus metallicus, Hue, Multicomponent display, Poeciliid, Saturation
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Journal Behavioural Processes
Wojan, E.M. (E. M.), Bertram, S.M, Clendenen, D.A. (D. A.), Castillo, C. (C.), Neldner, H.M. (H. M.), & Kolluru, G.R. (G. R.). (2018). Sexual selection on the multicomponent display of black morph male Girardinus metallicus (Pisces: Poeciliidae). Behavioural Processes, 153, 1–8. doi:10.1016/j.beproc.2018.04.021