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Rapid evolution of elaborate male coloration is driven by visual system in Australian Fairy-wrens (Maluridae) [Journal of Evolutionary Biology]

Keywords : sexual dichromatism, color vision, plumage coloration, evolutionary rate

par Frédéric Magné - publié le

The interplay between color vision and animal signaling is of keen interest to behavioral ecologists and evolutionary biologists alike, but is difficult to address in terrestrial animals. Unlike most avian lineages, in which color vision is relatively invariant among species, the fairy-wrens and allies (Maluridae) show a recent gain of ultraviolet sensitivity (UVS). Here, we compare rates of color evolution on 11 patches for males and females across Maluridae in the context of their visual system. We measured reflectance spectra for 24 species, estimating five vision-independent color metrics as well as metrics of color contrast among patches and sexual dichromatism in a receiver-neutral color space. We fit Brownian motion (BM) and Ornstein-Uhlenbeck (OU) models to estimate evolutionary rates for these metrics, and to test whether male coloration, female coloration, or dichromatism were driven by selective regimes defined by visual system or geography.(...)

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