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Impairment of mixed melanin-based pigmentation in parrots

Parrots and allies (Order Psittaciformes) have evolved an exclusive capacity to synthesize polyene pigments called psittacofulvins at feather follicles, which allows them to produce a striking diversity of pigmentation phenotypes. Melanins are polymers constituting the most abundant pigments in animals, and the sulphurated form (pheomelanin) produces colors that are similar to those produced by psittacofulvins. However, the differential contribution of these pigments to psittaciform phenotypic diversity has not been investigated. Given the color redundancy, and physiological limitations associated to pheomelanin synthesis, this study assumed that the latter would be avoided by psittaciform birds. This hypothesis was tested by using Raman spectroscopy to identify pigments in feathers exhibiting colors suspicious of being produced by pheomelanin (i.e., dull red, yellow and grey- and green-brownish) in 26 species from the three main lineages of Psittaciformes. The non-sulphurated melanin form (eumelanin) were detected in black, grey and brown plumage patches, and psittacofulvins in red, yellow and green patches, but no evidence of pheomelanin was found. As natural melanins are assumed to be composed of eumelanin and pheomelanin in varying ratios, these results represent the first report of impairment of mixed melanin-based pigmentation in animals. Given that psittaciforms also avoid the uptake of circulating carotenoid pigments, these birds seem to have evolved a capacity to avoid functional redundancy between pigments, likely by regulating follicular gene expression. The study provides the first vibrational characterization of different psittacofulvin-based colors and thus helps to determine the relative polyene chain length in these pigments, which is related to their antireductant protection activity. informacion[at] Neves et al (2020) Impairment of mixed melanin-based pigmentation in parrots. J Experim Biol. DOI 10.1242/jeb.225912
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Bioaccumulation and biomagnification of classical flame retardants in three delphinids

Bioaccumulation and biomagnification of classical flame retardants in three delphinids

Occurrence and behaviour of classical (PBDEs) and alternative (HNs, HBB, PBEB, DBDPE and HBCD) flame retardants, together with naturally produced MeO-PBDEs, were studied in short-beaked common dolphin (Delphinus delphis), bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and long-finned pilot whale (Globicephala melas) in two sampling locations from Southern European waters. Bottlenose dolphins were the most contaminated species and some individuals could present health risk for endocrine disruption since levels found were above the reported threshold. Stable isotope analysis was used to evaluate the biomagnification capacity of these compounds. PBDEs, MeO-PBDEs and Dec 602 showed a significant positive correlation with trophic position. informacion[at] Barón et al (2015) Bioaccumulation and biomagnification of classical flame retardants, related halogenated natural compounds and alternative flame retardants in three delphinids from Southern European waters. Environ Pollut (203) doi:10.1016/j.envpol.2015.03.041