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Conspicuous plumage does not increase predation risk: A continent-wide test using model songbirds

Cain, Kristal; Hall, Michelle; Medina, Iliana; Leitao, Ana V.; Delhey, Kaspar; Brouwer, Lyanne; Peters, Anne; Pruett-Jones, Stephen; Webster, Michael S.; Langmore, Naomi; Mulder, Raoul

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The forces shaping female plumage color have long been debated but remain unresolved. Females may benefit from conspicuous colors but are also expected to suffer costs. Predation is one potential cost, but few studies have explicitly investigated the relationship between predation risk and coloration. The fairy-wrens show pronounced variation in female coloration and reside in a wide variety of habitats across Australasia. Species with more conspicuous females are found in denser habitats,...[Show more]

dc.contributor.authorCain, Kristal
dc.contributor.authorHall, Michelle
dc.contributor.authorMedina, Iliana
dc.contributor.authorLeitao, Ana V.
dc.contributor.authorDelhey, Kaspar
dc.contributor.authorBrouwer, Lyanne
dc.contributor.authorPeters, Anne
dc.contributor.authorPruett-Jones, Stephen
dc.contributor.authorWebster, Michael S.
dc.contributor.authorLangmore, Naomi
dc.contributor.authorMulder, Raoul
dc.date.accessioned2019-12-12T04:33:09Z
dc.identifier.issn0003-0147
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/1885/193735
dc.description.abstractThe forces shaping female plumage color have long been debated but remain unresolved. Females may benefit from conspicuous colors but are also expected to suffer costs. Predation is one potential cost, but few studies have explicitly investigated the relationship between predation risk and coloration. The fairy-wrens show pronounced variation in female coloration and reside in a wide variety of habitats across Australasia. Species with more conspicuous females are found in denser habitats, suggesting that conspicuousness in open habitat increases vulnerability to predators. To test this, we measured attack rates on 3-D-printed models mimicking conspicuously colored males and females and dull females in eight different fairy-wren habitats across Australia. Attack rates were higher in open habitats and at higher latitudes. Contrary to our predictions, dull female models were attacked at similar rates to the conspicuous models. Further, the probability of attack in open habitats increased more for both types of female models than for the conspicuous male model. Across models, the degree of contrast (chromatic and achromatic) to environmental backgrounds was unrelated to predation rate. These findings do not support the long-standing hypothesis that conspicuous plumage, in isolation, is costly due to increased attraction of predators. Our results indicate that conspicuousness interacts with other factors in driving the evolution of plumage coloration.
dc.description.sponsorshipK.E.C., M.L.H., A.V.L., and R.A.M. were supported by Australian Research Council (ARC) grant DP150101652 to R.A.M., N.E.L., and K.D.; I.M. and N.E.L. were supported by ARC grant DP110101966 to N.E.L.; L.B. and K.D. were supported by ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award fellowships (DE130100174 to L.B., DE120102323 to K.D.); and A.P. was supported by an ARC Future Fellowship (FT 110100505).
dc.format.mimetypeapplication/pdf
dc.language.isoen_AU
dc.publisherUniversity of Chicago Press
dc.rights© 2019 The University of Chicago
dc.sourceThe American Naturalist
dc.subjectcolor
dc.subjectplumage
dc.subjectpredation risk
dc.subjectsexual dichromatism
dc.subjectMalurus
dc.subjecthabitat
dc.subjectcontrast
dc.titleConspicuous plumage does not increase predation risk: A continent-wide test using model songbirds
dc.typeJournal article
local.description.notesImported from ARIES
local.identifier.citationvolume193
dcterms.dateAccepted2018-09-24
dc.date.issued2019-01-23
local.identifier.absfor060201 - Behavioural Ecology
local.identifier.ariespublicationu3102795xPUB952
local.publisher.urlhttps://www.journals.uchicago.edu
local.type.statusPublished Version
local.contributor.affiliationCain, Kristal, College of Science, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationHall, Michelle, University of Melbourne
local.contributor.affiliationMedina, Iliana, College of Science, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationLeitao, Ana V., University of Melbourne
local.contributor.affiliationDelhey, Kaspar, Monash University
local.contributor.affiliationBrouwer, Lyanne, College of Science, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationPeters, Anne, Monash University
local.contributor.affiliationPruett-Jones, Stephen, University of Chicago
local.contributor.affiliationWebster, Michael S., Cornell University
local.contributor.affiliationLangmore, Naomi, College of Science, ANU
local.contributor.affiliationMulder, Raoul, University of Melbourne
dc.relationhttp://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/DP150101652
dc.relationhttp://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/DP110101966
dc.relationhttp://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/DE130100174
dc.relationhttp://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/DE120102323
dc.relationhttp://purl.org/au-research/grants/arc/FT110100505
local.bibliographicCitation.issue3
local.bibliographicCitation.startpage359
local.bibliographicCitation.lastpage372
local.identifier.doi10.1086/701632
local.identifier.absseo970106 - Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences
dc.date.updated2019-07-28T08:19:01Z
local.identifier.scopusID2-s2.0-85060555124
dcterms.accessRightsOpen Access
dc.provenancehttp://sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/issn/0003-0147/..."author can archive publisher's version/PDF On an institutional repository or open access repository after 12 months embargo" from SHERPA/RoMEO site (as at 12/12/19)
CollectionsANU Research Publications

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