Mimicry in coral reef fish: How accurate is this deception in terms of color and luminance?

Cheney, K. L. and Marshall, Justin (2009) Mimicry in coral reef fish: How accurate is this deception in terms of color and luminance?. Behavioral Ecology, 20 3: 459-468. doi:10.1093/beheco/arp017

Author Cheney, K. L.
Marshall, Justin
Title Mimicry in coral reef fish: How accurate is this deception in terms of color and luminance?
Journal name Behavioral Ecology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1045-2249
Publication date 2009-05
Year available 2009
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1093/beheco/arp017
Volume 20
Issue 3
Start page 459
End page 468
Total pages 10
Editor I. Couzin
Place of publication United States
Publisher Oxford University Press
Collection year 2010
Language eng
Subject C1
970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
060201 Behavioural Ecology
Formatted abstract
Batesian and aggressive mimics are considered to be under selective pressure to resemble their models, whereas signal receivers
are under selection to discriminate between mimics and models. However, the perceptual ability of signal receivers to discriminate
between mimics and models is rarely studied. Here we examined 15 model–mimic coral reef fish pairs using nonsubjective
methods to judge the accuracy of mimics in terms of color and luminance. We then investigated the potential ability of fish with
various visual systems to discriminate between model and mimic colors using theoretical vision models. We found the majority of
mimics closely resembled models in terms of color and luminance from a nonsubjective perspective. However, fish that have
potentially trichromatic (3 distinct cone photoreceptors) visual systems with ultraviolet sensitivity had a much better capacity to
discriminate between models and mimics compared with fish with midrange sensitivity or dichromatic (2 cone photoreceptors)
fish. The spectral reflectance of color patches reflected by models and mimics became more similar with an increase in depth,
indicating that signal receivers may be more likely to distinguish mimics from models in habitats located closer to the surface.
There was no such change in luminance contrast with depth. The selection pressure on mimics to accurately resemble their
model is therefore predicted to vary depending on the visual system of the signal receiver and the light environment.
Keyword Aggressive mimicry
Animal signaling
Color vision
Signal accuracy
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code

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Created: Tue, 05 Jan 2010, 13:22:59 EST by Hayley Ware on behalf of School of Biological Sciences