Are fruit colors adapted to consumer vision and birds equally efficient in detecting colorful signals?

Schaefer, H. Martin, Schaefer, Veronika and Vorobyev, Misha (2007) Are fruit colors adapted to consumer vision and birds equally efficient in detecting colorful signals?. American Naturalist, 169 Supplement 1: S159-S169.

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Author Schaefer, H. Martin
Schaefer, Veronika
Vorobyev, Misha
Title Are fruit colors adapted to consumer vision and birds equally efficient in detecting colorful signals?
Journal name American Naturalist   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0003-0147
Publication date 2007-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 169
Issue Supplement 1
Start page S159
End page S169
Total pages 11
Editor M. C. Whitlock
Place of publication Chicago, IL, United States
Publisher University of Chicago Press
Collection year 2008
Language eng
Subject C1
320705 Sensory Systems
730111 Hearing, vision, speech and their disorders
Abstract Reproduction in plants often requires animal vectors. Fruit and flower colors are traditionally viewed as an adaptation to facilitate detection for pollinators and seed dispersers. This long-standing hypothesis predicts that fruits are easier to detect against their own leaves compared with those of different species. We tested this hypothesis by analyzing the chromatic contrasts between 130 bird-dispersed fruits and their respective backgrounds according to avian vision. From a bird's view, fruits are not more contrasting to their own background than to those of other plant species. Fruit colors are therefore not adapted toward maximized conspicuousness for avian seed dispersers. However, secondary structures associated with fruit displays increase their contrasts. We used fruit colors to assess whether the ultraviolet and violet types of avian visual systems are equally efficient in detecting color signals. In bright light, the chromatic contrasts between fruit and background are stronger for ultraviolet vision. This advantage is due to the lesser overlap in spectral sensitivities of the blue and ultraviolet cones, which disappears in dim light conditions. We suggest that passerines with ultraviolet cones might primarily use epigamic signals that are less conspicuous to their avian predators (presumably with violet vision). Possible examples for such signals are carotenoid-based signals.
Keyword Ecology
Evolutionary Biology
avian color vision
plant animal interactions
visual discrimination
sexual selection
Oil Droplets
Dispersed Plants
Receptor Noise
Spectral Sensitivity
Visual Pigments
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Provisional Code
Institutional Status Unknown

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Created: Mon, 18 Feb 2008, 16:03:17 EST