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Experimental evidence suggests that specular reflectance and glossy appearance help amplify warning signals

Waldron, Samuel J., Endler, John A., Valkonen, Janne K., Honma, Atsushi, Dobler, Susanne and Mappes, Johanna 2017, Experimental evidence suggests that specular reflectance and glossy appearance help amplify warning signals, Scientific reports, vol. 7, pp. 1-10, doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-00217-5.

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Title Experimental evidence suggests that specular reflectance and glossy appearance help amplify warning signals
Author(s) Waldron, Samuel J.
Endler, John A.ORCID iD for Endler, John A. orcid.org/0000-0002-7557-7627
Valkonen, Janne K.
Honma, Atsushi
Dobler, Susanne
Mappes, Johanna
Journal name Scientific reports
Volume number 7
Article ID 257
Start page 1
End page 10
Total pages 10
Publisher Nature Publishing Group
Place of publication London, Eng.
Publication date 2017-03
ISSN 2045-2322
Keyword(s) Science & Technology
Multidisciplinary Sciences
Science & Technology - Other Topics
FREQUENCY-DEPENDENT SELECTION
LEAF BEETLES
CONSPICUOUS PREY
CHEMICAL DEFENSE
APOSEMATIC PREY
COLORATION
AGGREGATIONS
AVOIDANCE
PREDATORS
LUMINANCE
Summary Specular reflection appears as a bright spot or highlight on any smooth glossy convex surface and is caused by a near mirror-like reflectance off the surface. Convex shapes always provide the ideal geometry for highlights, areas of very strong reflectance, regardless of the orientation of the surface or position of the receiver. Despite highlights and glossy appearance being common in chemically defended insects, their potential signalling function is unknown. We tested the role of highlights in warning colouration of a chemically defended, alpine leaf beetle, Oreina cacaliae. We reduced the beetles’ glossiness, hence their highlights, by applying a clear matt finish varnish on their elytra. We used blue tits as predators to examine whether the manipulation affected their initial latency to attack, avoidance learning and generalization of warning colouration. The birds learned to avoid both dull and glossy beetles but they initially avoided glossy prey more than dull prey. Interestingly, avoidance learning was generalized asymmetrically: birds that initially learned to avoid dull beetles avoided glossy beetles equally strongly, but not vice versa. We conclude that specular reflectance and glossiness can amplify the warning signal of O. cacaliae, augmenting avoidance learning, even if it is not critical for it.
Language eng
DOI 10.1038/s41598-017-00217-5
Field of Research 060801 Animal Behaviour
060805 Animal Neurobiology
HERDC Research category C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
ERA Research output type C Journal article
Copyright notice ©2017, The Authors
Free to Read? Yes
Use Rights Creative Commons Attribution licence
Persistent URL http://hdl.handle.net/10536/DRO/DU:30092413

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Every reasonable effort has been made to ensure that permission has been obtained for items included in DRO. If you believe that your rights have been infringed by this repository, please contact drosupport@deakin.edu.au.