A species of reef fish that uses ultraviolet patterns for covert face recognition

Siebeck, Ulrike E., Parker, Amira N., Sprenger, Dennis, Mathger, Lydia M. and Wallis, Guy (2010) A species of reef fish that uses ultraviolet patterns for covert face recognition. Current Biology, 20 5: 407-410. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2009.12.047

Author Siebeck, Ulrike E.
Parker, Amira N.
Sprenger, Dennis
Mathger, Lydia M.
Wallis, Guy
Title A species of reef fish that uses ultraviolet patterns for covert face recognition
Journal name Current Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0960-9822
Publication date 2010-02-25
Year available 2010
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2009.12.047
Volume 20
Issue 5
Start page 407
End page 410
Total pages 4
Editor Goeffrey North
Place of publication United States
Publisher Cell Press
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Subject C1
920107 Hearing, Vision, Speech and Their Disorders
060603 Animal Physiology - Systems
Abstract The evolutionary and behavioral significance of an animal's color patterns remains poorly understood [1-4], not least, patterns that reflect ultraviolet (UV) light [5]. The current belief is that UV signals must be broad and bold to be detected because (1) they are prone to scattering in air and water, (2) when present, UV-sensitive cones are generally found in low numbers, and (3) long-wavelength-sensitive cones predominate in form vision in those species tested to date [6]. We report a study of two species of damselfish whose appearance differs only in the fine detail of UV-reflective facial patterns. We show that, contrary to expectations, the Ambon damselfish (Pomacentrus amboinensis) is able to use these patterns for species discrimination. We also reveal that the essential features of the patterns are contained in their shape rather than color. The results provide support for the hypothesis that UV is used by some fish as a high-fidelity "secret communication channel" hidden from predators [7, 8]. In more general terms, the findings help unravel the details of a language of color and pattern long since lost to our primate forebears, but which has been part of the world of many seeing organisms for millions of years.
Keyword Territorial Aggression
Damselfish territoriality
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2011 Collection
Queensland Brain Institute Publications
School of Biomedical Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 53 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 56 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 28 Mar 2010, 00:06:18 EST