Spectral sensitivities and color signals in a polymorphic damselfly

Huang, Shao-chang, Chiou, Tsyr-huei, Marshall, Justin and Reinhard, Judith (2014) Spectral sensitivities and color signals in a polymorphic damselfly. PLoS One, 9 1: e87972.1-e87972.8. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0087972

Author Huang, Shao-chang
Chiou, Tsyr-huei
Marshall, Justin
Reinhard, Judith
Title Spectral sensitivities and color signals in a polymorphic damselfly
Journal name PLoS One   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 1932-6203
Publication date 2014-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1371/journal.pone.0087972
Open Access Status DOI
Volume 9
Issue 1
Start page e87972.1
End page e87972.8
Total pages 8
Place of publication San Francisco, CA, United States
Publisher Public Library of Science
Collection year 2015
Language eng
Abstract Animal communication relies on conspicuous signals and compatible signal perception abilities. Good signal perception abilities are particularly important for polymorphic animals where mate choice can be a challenge. Behavioral studies suggest that polymorphic damselflies use their varying body colorations and/or color patterns as communication signal for mate choice and to control mating frequencies. However, solid evidence for this hypothesis combining physiological with spectral and behavioral data is scarce. We investigated this question in the Australian common blue tail damselfly, Ischnura heterosticta, which has pronounced female-limited polymorphism: andromorphs have a male-like blue coloration and gynomorphs display green/grey colors. We measured body color reflectance and investigated the visual capacities of each morph, showing that I. heterosticta have at least three types of photoreceptors sensitive to UV, blue, and green wavelength, and that this visual perception ability enables them to detect the spectral properties of the color signals emitted from the various color morphs in both males and females. We further demonstrate that different color morphs can be discriminated against each other and the vegetation based on color contrast. Finally, these findings were supported by field observations of natural mating pairs showing that mating partners are indeed chosen based on their body coloration. Our study provides the first comprehensive evidence for the function of body coloration on mate choice in polymorphic damselflies.
Keyword Enallagma Damselflies
Mate recognition
Receptor noise
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Queensland Brain Institute Publications
Official 2015 Collection
Version Filter Type
Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 5 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 8 times in Scopus Article | Citations
Google Scholar Search Google Scholar
Created: Sun, 16 Mar 2014, 00:14:09 EST by System User on behalf of Queensland Brain Institute