Intraspecific and intraspecific views of colour signals in the strawberry poison frog Dendrobates Pumilio

Siddiqi, A., Loew, E. R., Cronin, T. W., Vorobyev, M. and Summers, K. (2004) Intraspecific and intraspecific views of colour signals in the strawberry poison frog Dendrobates Pumilio. The Journal of Experimental Biology, 207 14: 2471-2485. doi:10.1242/jeb.01047

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Author Siddiqi, A.
Loew, E. R.
Cronin, T. W.
Vorobyev, M.
Summers, K.
Title Intraspecific and intraspecific views of colour signals in the strawberry poison frog Dendrobates Pumilio
Journal name The Journal of Experimental Biology   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0022-0949
Publication date 2004
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1242/jeb.01047
Open Access Status File (Publisher version)
Volume 207
Issue 14
Start page 2471
End page 2485
Total pages 15
Editor H Hoppeler
Place of publication Cambridge, UK
Publisher The Company of Biologists
Collection year 2004
Language eng
Subject C1
270601 Animal Physiology - Biophysics
780106 Political science and public policy
Abstract Poison frogs in the anuran family Dendrobatidae use bright colors on their bodies to advertise toxicity. The species Dendrobates pumilio Schmidt 1858, the strawberry poison frog, shows extreme polymorphism in color and pattern in Panama. It is known that females of D. pumilio preferentially choose mates of their own color morph. Nevertheless, potential predators must clearly see and recognize all color morphs if the aposermatic signaling system is to function effectively. We examined the ability of conspecifics and a model predator to discriminate a diverse selection of D. pumilio colors from each other and from background colors. Microspectrophotometry of isolated rod and cone photoreceptors of D. pumilio revealed the presence of a trichromatic photopic visual system. A typical tetrachromatic bird system was used for the model predator. Reflectance spectra of frog and background colors were obtained, and discrimination among spectra in natural illuminants was mathematically modeled. The results revealed that both D. pumilio and the model predator discriminate most colors quite well, both from each other and from typical backgrounds, with the predator generally performing somewhat better than the conspecifics. Each color morph displayed at least one color signal that is highly visible against backgrounds to both visual systems. Our results indicate that the colors displayed by the various color morphs of D. pumilio are effective signals both to conspecifics and to a model predator.
Keyword Biology
Visual Ecology
Poison Frog
Dendrobates Pumilio
Color Vision
Color Signal
Visual Pigments
Spectral Sensitivity
Parental Behavior
Domestic Chicks
Receptor Noise
Oil Droplets
Q-Index Code C1

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: 2005 Higher Education Research Data Collection
School of Biomedical Sciences Publications
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Citation counts: TR Web of Science Citation Count  Cited 216 times in Thomson Reuters Web of Science Article | Citations
Scopus Citation Count Cited 221 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 04:16:30 EST