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Research article - Peer-reviewed, 2016

Worldwide patterns of bird colouration on islands

Doutrelant, Claire; Paquet, Matthieu; Renoult, Julien P.; Gregoire, Arnaud; Crochet, Pierre-Andre; Covas, Rita

Abstract

Island environments share distinctive characteristics that offer unique opportunities to investigate parallel evolution. Previous research has produced evidence of an island syndrome for morphological traits, life-history strategies and ecological niches, but little is known about the response to insularity of other important traits such as animal signals. Here, we tested whether birds' plumage colouration is part of the island syndrome. We analysed with spectrophotometry the colouration of 116 species endemic to islands and their 116 closest mainland relatives. We found a pattern of reduced brightness and colour intensity for both sexes on islands. In addition, we found a decrease in the number of colour patches on islands that, in males, was associated with a decrease in the number of same-family sympatric species. These results demonstrate a worldwide pattern of parallel colour changes on islands and suggest that a relaxation of selection on species recognition may be one of the mechanisms involved.

Keywords

Colouration; Goldsmith tetrahedral colour space; Insularity syndrome; Parallel evolution; Sexual selection; Species recognition

Published in

Ecology Letters
2016, Volume: 19, number: 5, pages: 537-545

    UKÄ Subject classification

    Ecology
    Evolutionary Biology

    Publication Identifiers

    DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/ele.12588

    Permanent link to this page (URI)

    https://res.slu.se/id/publ/84907