News Column

Study Results from University of Oxford Update Understanding of Animal Behavior

May 6, 2014



By a News Reporter-Staff News Editor at Life Science Weekly -- Research findings on Life Science Research are discussed in a new report. According to news reporting from Oxford, United Kingdom, by NewsRx journalists, research stated, "Chromatic signals result from the differential absorption of light by chemical compounds (pigment-based colours) and/or from differential scattering of light by integument nanostructures (structural colours). Both structural and pigment-based colours can be costly to produce, maintain and display, and have been shown to convey information about a variety of individual quality traits."

The news correspondents obtained a quote from the research from the University of Oxford, "Male wall lizards, Podarcis muralis, display conspicuously coloured ventral and lateral patches during ritualized inter-and intra-sexual displays: ventral colours (perceived as orange, yellow or white by humans) are pigment based, while the ultraviolet (UV)-blue of the outer ventral scales (OVS), located along the flanks, is structurally produced. We used spectrophotometric data from 372 adult males to examine, considering the entire visual spectrum of lizards, whether ventral and OVS colour variables can predict male quality. Results indicate that the hue and UV chroma of OVS are good predictors of fighting ability (size-independent bite force) and body condition, respectively. This suggests that structural colour patches are condition dependent and function as complex multicomponent signals in this species. In contrast, ventral coloration apparently does not function as a male quality indicator."

According to the news reporters, the research concluded: "We suggest that ventral and lateral colour patches may be social signals with different information content, possibly aimed at different receivers."

For more information on this research see: Colours of quality: structural (but not pigment) coloration informs about male quality in a polychromatic lizard. Animal Behaviour, 2014;90():73-81. Animal Behaviour can be contacted at: Academic Press Ltd- Elsevier Science Ltd, 24-28 Oval Rd, London NW1 7DX, England. (Elsevier - www.elsevier.com; Animal Behaviour - www.elsevier.com/wps/product/cws_home/622782)

Our news journalists report that additional information may be obtained by contacting G.P.I. de Lanuza, University of Oxford, Dept. of Zool, Edward Grey Inst, Oxford OX1 3PS, United Kingdom. Additional authors for this research include P. Carazo and E. Font (see also Life Science Research).

Keywords for this news article include: Oxford, Europe, United Kingdom, Life Science Research

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Source: Life Science Weekly