Animal visual systems and the evolution of color patterns; sensory processing illuminates signal evolution

Endler, John A., Westcott, David A., Madden, Joah R. and Robson, Tim 2005, Animal visual systems and the evolution of color patterns; sensory processing illuminates signal evolution, Evolution : international journal of organic evolution, vol. 59, no. 8, pp. 1795-1818, doi: 10.1111/j.0014-3820.2005.tb01827.x.

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Title Animal visual systems and the evolution of color patterns; sensory processing illuminates signal evolution
Author(s) Endler, John A.ORCID iD for Endler, John A.
Westcott, David A.
Madden, Joah R.
Robson, Tim
Journal name Evolution : international journal of organic evolution
Volume number 59
Issue number 8
Start page 1795
End page 1818
Publisher Wiley-Blackwell
Place of publication Oxford, England
Publication date 2005
ISSN 0014-3820
Keyword(s) bowerbirds
sexual selection
sensory drive
multiple-trait evolution
correlational selection
color patterns
Summary Animal color pattern phenotypes evolve rapidly. What influences their evolution? Because color patterns are used in communication, selection for signal efficacy, relative to the intended receiver's visual system, may explain and predict the direction of evolution. We investigated this in bowerbirds, whose color patterns consist of plumage, bower structure, and ornaments and whose visual displays are presented under predictable visual conditions. We used data on avian vision, environmental conditions, color pattern properties, and an estimate of the bowerbird phylogeny to test hypotheses about evolutionary effects of visual processing. Different components of the color pattern evolve differently. Plumage sexual dimorphism increased and then decreased, while overall (plumage plus bower) visual contrast increased. The use of bowers allows relative crypsis of the bird but increased efficacy of the signal as a whole. Ornaments do not elaborate existing plumage features but instead are innovations (new color schemes) that increase signal efficacy. Isolation between species could be facilitated by plumage but not ornaments, because we observed character displacement only in plumage. Bowerbird color pattern evolution is at least partially predictable from the function of the visual system and from knowledge of different functions of different components of the color patterns. This provides clues to how more constrained visual signaling systems may evolve.
Language eng
DOI 10.1111/j.0014-3820.2005.tb01827.x
Field of Research 059999 Environmental Sciences not elsewhere classified
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2005, The Society for the Study of Evolution
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