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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]ebd.csic.es: Neves et al (2020) Impairment of mixed melanin-based pigmentation in parrots. J Experim Biol. DOI 10.1242/jeb.225912


https://jeb.biologists.org/content/early/2020/05/08/jeb.225912
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Anidación esporádica descubre la colonización exitosa de nuevas zonas por la tortuga boba

Anidación esporádica descubre la colonización exitosa de nuevas zonas por la tortuga boba

The colonisation of new suitable habitats is crucial for species survival at evolutionary scale under changing environmental conditions. However, colonisation potential may be limited by philopatry that facilitates exploiting successful habitats across generations. This study examined the mechanisms of long distance dispersal of the philopatric loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta) by analysing 40 sporadic nesting events in the western Mediterranean. The analysis of a fragment of the mitochondrial DNA and 7 microsatellites of 121 samples from 18 of these nesting events revealed that these nests were colonising events associated with juveniles from distant populations feeding in nearby foraging grounds. Considering the temperature-dependent sex determination of the species, the effect of the incubation temperature and propagule pressure on a potential colonisation scenario was simulated. Results indicated that colonisation will succeed if warm temperature conditions, already existing in some of the beaches in the area, extend to the whole western Mediterranean. The sporadic nesting events in developmental foraging grounds may be a mechanism to overcome philopatry limitations thus increasing the dispersal capabilities of the species and the adaptability to changing environments. Sporadic nesting in the western Mediterranean can be viewed as potential new populations in a scenario of rising temperatures. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Carreras et al (2018) Sporadic nesting reveals long distance colonisation in the philopatric loggerhead sea turtle (Caretta caretta). Scientific Reports Doi 10.1038/s41598-018-19887-w


https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-018-19887-w