News News

Nocturnal birds could communicate through the fluorescence of their feathers

Many nocturnal animals, including invertebrates such as scorpions and a variety of vertebrate species, including toadlets, flying squirrels, owls, and nightjars, emit bright fluorescence under ultraviolet light. However, the ecological significance of this unique coloration so attached to nocturnality remains obscure. An intensively studied population of migratory red-necked nightjars (Caprimulgus ruficollis) was used to investigate inter-individual variation in porphyrin-based pink fluorescence according to sex, age, body condition, time of the year, and the extent of white plumage patches known to be involved in sexual communication. Males and females exhibited a similar extent of pink fluorescence on the under-side of the wings in both juvenile and adult birds, but males had larger white patches than females. Body condition predicted the extent of pink fluorescence in juvenile birds, but not in adults. On average, the extent of pink fluorescence in juveniles increased by ca. 20% for every 10-g increase in body mass. For both age classes, there was a slight seasonal increase (1–4% per week) in the amount of fluorescence. These results suggest that the porphyrin-based coloration of nightjars might signal individual quality, at least in their first potential breeding season, although the ability of these and other nocturnal birds to perceive fluorescence remains to be unequivocally proven. información[at]ebd.csic.es: Camacho et al (2019) Correlates of individual variation in the porphyrin-based fluorescence of red-necked nightjars (Caprimulgus ruficollis). Scientific Reports. DOI: 10.1038/s41598-019-55522-y


https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-55522-y
Average (0 Votes)

Latest News Latest News

Human footprint and vulture mortality

Events of non-natural mortality in human-dominated landscapes are especially challenging for populations of large vertebrates with K strategies. Among birds, vultures are one of the most threatened...

One century of crayfish invasions

The red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii), native to the southern United States and north-eastern Mexico, is currently the most widely distributed crayfish globally, as well as one of the...

Plasmodium transmission risk differs between mosquito species and parasite lineages

Factors such as the particular combination of parasite-mosquito species, their co-evolutionary history, and the host’s parasite load greatly affect parasite transmission. However, the importance ...

Human activities link fruit bat presence to Ebola virus disease outbreaks

A significant link between forest loss and fragmentation and outbreaks of Ebola virus disease (EVD) in humans has been documented. Deforestation may alter the natural circulation of viruses and...

Predictors of pollinator service

Pollinator service is essential for successful sexual reproduction and long?term population persistence of animal?pollinated plants, and innumerable studies have shown that insufficient service by...