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Sexual dichromatism and condition-dependence in the skin of a bat

Bats are assumed not to use vision for communication, despite recent evidence of their capacity for color vision. The possibility that bats use color traits as signals has thus been overlooked. Some tent-roosting bats have a potential for visual signaling because they exhibit bright yellow skin, a trait that in birds often acts as a sexual signal. The authors searched for evidence of sexual dichromatism in the yellow bare skin of Honduran white bats Ectophylla alba, the first reported mammal with a capacity to deposit significant amounts of carotenoid pigments in the skin. Skin yellow chroma, a measure that reflects carotenoid content, increases in the ears and nose-leaf during development probably due to an increase in dietary carotenoid accumulation. Once in the adulthood, the yellow color of the nose-leaf becomes brighter in males, representing the first evidence of sexual dichromatism in a bat. The nose-leaf brightness tends to covary positively with the body condition of males. It was also found that the skin shows a reflectance peak at 530 nm that virtually coincides with the main reflectance peak (540 nm) of the back side of Heliconia leaves used as roosts. This suggests that these leaves were selected because of camouflage benefits, and the rich lighting conditions of these roosting places then favored the use of skin coloration as a sexual signal. These findings open a new perspective in the physiological and behavioral ecology of bats in which vision has a more relevant role than previously thought. informacion[at]ebd.csic.es: Rodríguez-Herrera et al (2019) Sexual dichromatism and condition-dependence in the skin of a bat. J Mammal https://doi.org/10.1093/jmammal/gyz035


https://academic.oup.com/jmammal/advance-article-abstract/doi/10.1093/jmammal/gyz035/5378721?redirectedFrom=fulltext
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Content with tag sexual selection .

Sexual dichromatism and condition-dependence in the skin of a bat

Bats are assumed not to use vision for communication, despite recent evidence of their capacity for color vision. The possibility that bats use color traits as signals has thus been overlooked....

Females mate with males with diminished pheomelanin-based coloration in the Eurasian nuthatch Sitta europaea

Sexual selection can drive the evolution of phenotypic traits because of female preferences for exaggerated trait expression in males. Sexual selection can also lead to the evolutionary loss of...

Porphyrins produce uniquely ephemeral animal colouration: a possible signal of virginity

Colours that underlie animal pigmentation can either be permanent or renewable in the short term. Here the discovery of a conspicuous salmon-pink colouration in the base of bustard feathers, never...

Lack of evolution of sexual size dimorphism in Heteromyidae (Rodentia)

One paradoxical finding in some mammals is the presence of male–male intrasexual competition in the absence of sexual size dimorphism. It has been a major goal of evolutionary biologists for...
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