The adaptive significance of ontogenetic colour change in a tropical python

Wilson, David, Heinsohn, Robert and Endler, John A. 2007, The adaptive significance of ontogenetic colour change in a tropical python, Biology letters, vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 40-43, doi: 10.1098/rsbl.2006.0574.

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Title The adaptive significance of ontogenetic colour change in a tropical python
Author(s) Wilson, David
Heinsohn, Robert
Endler, John A.ORCID iD for Endler, John A.
Journal name Biology letters
Volume number 3
Issue number 1
Start page 40
End page 43
Total pages 4
Publisher The Royal Society Publishing
Place of publication London, England
Publication date 2007-02
ISSN 1744-9561
Summary Ontogenetic colour change is typically associated with changes in size, vulnerability or habitat, but assessment of its functional significance requires quantification of the colour signals from the receivers' perspective. The tropical python, Morelia viridis, is an ideal species to establish the functional significance of ontogenetic colour change. Neonates hatch either yellow or red and both the morphs change to green with age. Here, we show that colour change from red or yellow to green provides camouflage from visually oriented avian predators in the different habitats used by juveniles and adults. This reflects changes in foraging behaviour and vulnerability as individuals mature and provides a rare demonstration of the adaptive value of ontogenetic colour change.
Language eng
DOI 10.1098/rsbl.2006.0574
Field of Research 060702 Plant Cell and Molecular Biology
HERDC Research category C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal
Copyright notice ©2006, The Royal Society
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