Navigation Links
Ecologists get fish eye view of sexual signals
Date:11/9/2010

Carotenoid pigments are the source of many of the animal kingdom's most vivid colours; flamingos' pink feathers come from eating carotenoid-containing shrimps and algae, and carotenoid colours can be seen among garden birds in blackbirds' orange beaks and blue tits' yellow breast feathers.

These pigments play a crucial role in sexual signals. According to the study's lead author Dr Tom Pike of the University of Exeter: "Females typically use carotenoid colours to assess the quality of a potential mate, with more colourful males generally being regarded as the most attractive."

This long-held assumption is, however, hard to study because we see colour very differently to fish and previous studies have not taken such differences into account, instead comparing only the colours perceived by humans.

"The major difference between stickleback vision and our own is that they can see ultraviolet light, which is invisible to humans. This may be important because carotenoids reflect ultraviolet light as well as the red, oranges and yellows that we can see," Dr Pike explains.

The model developed by Dr Pike and colleagues from the University of Glasgow and Nofima Marine in Norway mimics the stickleback's visual system, allowing the researchers to determine what 'colours' the fish see. "The model tells us how much of the light reflected from a carotenoid signal is actually detected by a female and how this information might be processed by her brain, and so gives us exciting new insights into how females may use colour to choose the best mates," says Dr Pike.

Male sticklebacks can fine tune the colours they display to females by varying both the overall amount of carotenoids and the relative amount of the two constituent carotenoids, the red-coloured astaxanthin and the yellow tunaxanthin. The model reveals that sticklebacks' visual system and coloration are extremely well co-adapted, and that females are surprisingly good at assessing the quantity of carotenoids a male is able to put in his signal which previous studies by the authors have shown is linked to his parenting ability.

The results will help ecologists get a better understanding of why carotenoid-based signals evolved in the first place, and provides insights into why males use the specific carotenoids they do. According to Dr Pike: "There are many carotenoids in the sticklebacks' diet, but males use only two of them for signalling; because the visual system evolved long before male coloration in this species, it suggests that males 'chose' to use those two carotenoids to make the most of what the female fish sees."


'/>"/>

Contact: Dr. Tom Pike
T.Pike@exeter.ac.uk
44-132-637-0446
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Ecologists find new clues on climate change in 150-year-old pressed plants
2. Ecologists to discuss impacts of mountaintop mining at special ESA symposium
3. Ecologists receive mixed news from fossil record
4. Nations largest organization of ecologists offers expert database
5. Ecologists discover forests are growing faster
6. Ecologists sound out new solution for monitoring cryptic species
7. The value of variation: Ecologists consider the causes and consequences
8. Ecologists question effects of climate change on infectious diseases
9. Ecologists report quantifiable measures of natures services to humans
10. Ecologists use oceanographic data to predict future climate change
11. Ecologists say metabolism accounts for why natural selection favors only some species
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/8/2017)... YORK , Feb. 8, 2017 About ... individual,s voice to match it against a stored ... such as pitch, cadence, and tone are compared ... require minimal hardware installation, as most PCs already ... for different transactions. Voice recognition biometrics are most ...
(Date:2/8/2017)... LONDON , Feb. 7, 2017 Report ... $12.5 billion by 2021 from $8.3 billion in 2016 ... from 2016 to 2021. Report Includes - An ... of global market trends, with data from 2015 and ... through 2021. - Segmentation of the market on the ...
(Date:2/6/2017)... Feb. 6, 2017 According to Acuity ... driving border authorities to continue to embrace biometric ... are 2143 Automated Border Control (ABC) eGates and ... at more than 163 ports of entry across ... 2016 achieving a combined CAGR of 37%. APC ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/23/2017)... and SAN FRANCISCO , Feb. 23, ... medicine company, and Beyond Type 1, a not-for-profit advocacy ... diabetes, today announced a grant from Beyond Type 1 ... for type 1 and other insulin-requiring diabetes.  ... developing innovative stem cell-derived cell replacement therapies with a ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... -- Aratana Therapeutics, Inc. (NASDAQ: PETX), a pet therapeutics company focused ... for companion animals, will host a live conference call on ... financial results from the fourth quarter and full year ended ... may access the audio webcast or use the ... ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... Clara, CA (PRWEB) , ... February 22, 2017 , ... ... hosting a free AFM Luncheon for all SPIE attendees and ... Jose, CA, just one block from the San Jose Convention Center. The luncheon ...
(Date:2/22/2017)... CINCINNATI , Feb. 22, 2017 Scientists ... drives inflammation and organ damage in Gaucher and maybe ... fewer risks and lower costs than current therapies. ... Children,s Hospital Medical Center , which also included investigators ... , report their data Feb. 22. The study ...
Breaking Biology Technology: