Conspicuousness is correlated with toxicity in marine opisthobranchs

Cortesi, F. and Cheney, K. L. (2010) Conspicuousness is correlated with toxicity in marine opisthobranchs. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 23 7: 1509-1518. doi:10.1111/j.1420-9101.2010.02018.x

Author Cortesi, F.
Cheney, K. L.
Title Conspicuousness is correlated with toxicity in marine opisthobranchs
Journal name Journal of Evolutionary Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1010-061X
Publication date 2010-07
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1111/j.1420-9101.2010.02018.x
Volume 23
Issue 7
Start page 1509
End page 1518
Total pages 10
Editor A. J. Moore
Place of publication Oxford, U.K.
Publisher Blackwell Science
Collection year 2011
Language eng
Subject C1
0603 Evolutionary Biology
060309 Phylogeny and Comparative Analysis
060303 Biological Adaptation
060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl. Marine Ichthyology)
970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
Formatted abstract
Aposematism is defined as the use of conspicuous colouration to warn predators that an individual is chemically or otherwise defended. Mechanisms that drive the evolution of aposematism are complex. Theoretical and empirical studies show that conspicuousness can be either positively or negatively correlated with toxicity as once aposematism is established, species can allocate resources into becoming more conspicuous and/or increase secondary defences. Here, we investigated the evolution of conspicuousness and toxicity in marine opisthobranchs. Conspicuousness of colour signals was assessed using spectral reflectance measurements and theoretical vision models from the perspective of two reef fish signal receivers. The relative toxicity of chemicals extracted from each opisthobranch species was then determined using toxicity assays. Using a phylogenetic comparative analysis, we found a significant correlation between conspicuousness and toxicity, indicating that conspicuousness acts as an honest signal when signifying level of defence and provides evidence for aposematism in opisthobranchs.
Keyword Aposematic colouration
Marine invertebrates
Secondary defences
Visual signalling
Chemical defence
Warning signals
Aposematic coloration
Receiver psychology
Receptor noise
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
School of Biological Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 27 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 25 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Sun, 11 Jul 2010, 00:03:54 EST