Are avian eggshell colours effective intraspecific communication signals in the Muscicapoidea? A perceptual modelling approach

Cassey, P., Ewen, J. G., Marshall, N. J., Vorobyev, M., Blackburn, T. M. and Hauber, M. E. (2009) Are avian eggshell colours effective intraspecific communication signals in the Muscicapoidea? A perceptual modelling approach. Ibis, 151 4: 689-698. doi:10.1111/j.1474-919X.2009.00953.x


Author Cassey, P.
Ewen, J. G.
Marshall, N. J.
Vorobyev, M.
Blackburn, T. M.
Hauber, M. E.
Title Are avian eggshell colours effective intraspecific communication signals in the Muscicapoidea? A perceptual modelling approach
Journal name Ibis   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0019-1019
Publication date 2009-10
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1474-919X.2009.00953.x
Volume 151
Issue 4
Start page 689
End page 698
Total pages 10
Editor Paul F Donald
Place of publication United Kingdom
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
Collection year 2010
Language eng
Subject C1
830102 Aquaculture Fin Fish (excl. Tuna)
060805 Animal Neurobiology
060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology)
040501 Biological Oceanography
Abstract Diversity in the colour and appearance of avian eggshells has been proposed to serve a variety of visual functions, including crypsis from predation, mimicry and discrimination in facultative and obligate brood parasitism, and sexually selected intraspecific signalling of the extent of maternal investment in the egg. Here, we apply a photoreceptor noise-limited colour opponent model of avian perception to assess a necessary corollary of any intraspecific signalling hypothesis, namely that individual birds are able to discriminate between colours of eggs in different conspecific clutches. Clutches from 46 species in the superfamily Muscicapoidea were measured at the Natural History Museum collection in Tring, UK. The results demonstrate that, for these particular species, most eggs are predicted not to be easily discriminable from those in other conspecific clutches in terms of the shells' background coloration. These findings are of fundamental concern to any signalling hypothesis that looks to explain the evolution of avian-visible egg colour polymorphism through selection at the intraspecific level. Importantly, future studies should combine both the proximate mechanisms and the ultimate functions of trait variability when testing hypotheses of the variability in eggshell appearance.
Keyword communication
sexual selection
signals
visual perception
CUCKOO CUCULUS-CANORUS
CONE PHOTORECEPTOR DISTRIBUTION
FLYCATCHER
FICEDULA-HYPOLEUCA
EXPERIMENTAL BROOD PARASITISM
TITS CYANISTES-CAERULEUS
EGG-COLOR
OIL DROPLETS
RECEPTOR NOISE
REFLECTANCE SPECTROPHOTOMETRY
ULTRAVIOLET REFLECTANCE
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2010 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Biomedical Sciences Publications
 
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