Blue tits are ultraviolet tits

Hunt, Sarah, Bennett, Andrew T. D., Cuthill, Innes C. and Griffiths, Richard 1998, Blue tits are ultraviolet tits, Proceedings of the Royal Society of London series B-biological sciences, vol. 265, no. 1395, pp. 451-455.

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Title Blue tits are ultraviolet tits
Author(s) Hunt, Sarah
Bennett, Andrew T. D.ORCID iD for Bennett, Andrew T. D.
Cuthill, Innes C.
Griffiths, Richard
Journal name Proceedings of the Royal Society of London series B-biological sciences
Volume number 265
Issue number 1395
Start page 451
End page 455
Publisher The Royal Society Publishing
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 1998-03-22
ISSN 0962-8452
Keyword(s) sexual selection
blue tit
female choice
spectral reflectance
UV vision
sexual dichromatism
Summary The blue tit (Parus caeruleus) has been classified as sexually monochromatic. This classification is based on human colour perception yet, unlike humans, most birds have four spectrally distinct classes of cone and are visually sensitive to wavelengths in the near-ultraviolet (300-400 nm). Reflectance spectrophotometry reveals that blue tit plumage shows considerable reflection of UV light. For example, the blue crest shows peak reflectance at wavelengths around 352 nm. Furthermore, the blue tit is sexually dichromatic for multiple regions of plumage, including the crest. Choice trials performed in the laboratory indicate that females prefer males with the brightest crests. This study has implications for both intra-and interspecific studies of sexual selection, as well as future classification of dichromatism, which should not ignore the possibility of variation in reflectance in the UV.
Language eng
Field of Research 059999 Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©1998, The Royal Society
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