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Visual signal evolution along complementary color axes in four bird lineages

Krishnan, A and Singh, A and Tamma, K (2020) Visual signal evolution along complementary color axes in four bird lineages. In: Biology open, 9 (9).

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Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1242/bio.052316


Avian color patterns function in varied behavioral contexts, most being produced by only a handful of mechanisms including feather nanostructures and pigments. Within a clade, colors may not occupy the entire available space, and incorporating complementary colors may increase the contrast and efficacy of visual signals. Here, we describe plumage patterns in four ecologically and phylogenetically diverse bird families to test whether they possess complementary colors. We present evidence that plumage colors in each clade cluster along a line in tetrachromatic color space. Additionally, we present evidence that in three of these clades, this line contains colors on opposite sides of a line passing through the achromatic point (putatively complementary colors, presenting higher chromatic contrast). Finally, interspecific color variation over at least some regions of the body is not constrained by phylogenetic relatedness. By describing plumage patterns in four diverse lineages, we add to the growing body of literature suggesting that the diversity of bird visual signals is constrained. Further, we tentatively hypothesize that in at least some clades possessing bright colors, species-specific plumage patterns may evolve by swapping the distributions of a complementary color pair. Further research on other bird clades may help confirm whether these patterns are general across bird families. © 2020. Published by The Company of Biologists Ltd.

Item Type: Journal Article
Publication: Biology open
Publisher: NLM (Medline)
Additional Information: Copyright to this article belongs to the authors.
Keywords: article; bird; cladistics; nonhuman; plumage
Department/Centre: Division of Biological Sciences > Centre for Ecological Sciences
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2021 09:39
Last Modified: 13 Mar 2021 09:39
URI: http://eprints.iisc.ac.in/id/eprint/66751

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