Visual Biology of Hawaiian Coral Reef Fishes. III. Environmental Light and an Integrated Approach to the Ecology of Reef Fish Vision

Marshall, N. J., Jennings, K. A., McFarland, W. N., Loew, E. R. and Losey, G. S. (2003) Visual Biology of Hawaiian Coral Reef Fishes. III. Environmental Light and an Integrated Approach to the Ecology of Reef Fish Vision. Copeia, 3 3: 467-480. doi:10.1643/01-056


Author Marshall, N. J.
Jennings, K. A.
McFarland, W. N.
Loew, E. R.
Losey, G. S.
Title Visual Biology of Hawaiian Coral Reef Fishes. III. Environmental Light and an Integrated Approach to the Ecology of Reef Fish Vision
Journal name Copeia   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0045-8511
Publication date 2003-01-01
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1643/01-056
Open Access Status Not yet assessed
Volume 3
Issue 3
Start page 467
End page 480
Total pages 14
Editor M. Douglas
Place of publication Lawrence, Kansas
Publisher The American Society of Ichthyologists and Herpetologists
Language eng
Subject C1
270502 Neurobiology
780105 Biological sciences
Abstract In the previous two papers in this three-part series, we have examined visual pigments, ocular media transmission, and colors of the coral reef fish of Hawaii. This paper first details aspects of the light field and background colors at the microhabitat level on Hawaiian reefs and does so from the perspective and scale of fish living on the reef. Second, information from all three papers is combined in an attempt to examine trends in the visual ecology of reef inhabitants. Our goal is to begin to see fish the way they appear to other fish. Observations resulting from the combination of results in all three papers include the following. Yellow and blue colors on their own are strikingly well matched to backgrounds on the reef such as coral and bodies of horizontally viewed water. These colors, therefore, depending on context, may be important in camouflage as well as conspicuousness. The spectral characteristics of fish colors are correlated to the known spectral sensitivities in reef fish single cones and are tuned for maximum signal reliability when viewed against known backgrounds. The optimal positions of spectral sensitivity in a modeled dichromatic visual system are generally close to the sensitivities known for reef fish. Models also predict that both UV-sensitive and red-sensitive cone types are advantageous for a variety of tasks. UV-sensitive cones are known in some reef fish, red-sensitive cones have yet to be found. Labroid colors, which appear green or blue to us, may he matched to the far-red component of chlorophyll reflectance for camouflage. Red cave/hole dwelling reef fish are relatively poorly matched to the background they are often viewed against but this may be visually irrelevant. The model predicts that the task of distinguishing green algae from coral is optimized with a relatively long wavelength visual pigment pair. Herbivorous grazers whose visual pigments are known possess the longest sensitivities so far found. Labroid complex colors are highly contrasting complementary colors close up but combine, because of the spatial addition, which results from low visual resolution, at distance, to match background water colors remarkably well. Therefore, they are effective for simultaneous communication and camouflage.
Q-Index Code C1

 
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Created: Wed, 15 Aug 2007, 11:19:15 EST