Evol Ecol Res 8: 483-491 (2006) Full PDF if your library subscribes.
Ultraviolet reflectance in a melanin-based plumage trait is heritable
Isabelle Py,1 Anne-Lyse Ducrest,1 Nadège Duvoisin,2 Luca Fumagalli2 and Alexandre Roulin1*
1Department of Ecology and Evolution, Biophore and 2Laboratory for Conservation Biology, Biophore, University of Lausanne, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland
Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
Question: Is ultraviolet (UV) reflectance of melanin-based plumage ornaments heritable?
Data studied: We considered the barn owl (Tyto alba), a species that varies continuously from white to reddish-brown, a pheomelanin-based trait.
Methods: To perform a partial cross-fostering experiment, we exchanged one to three hatchlings between 16 pairs of nests with a similar hatching date. This experiment allocated hatchlings randomly among rearing environments. Forty-nine days later, we collected three feathers per individual to measure UV reflectance.
Conclusions: The cross-fostering experiment showed that, independently of human-visible coloration, variation in UV reflectance is significantly sensitive to origin-related factors.
Keywords: colour polymorphism, heritability, melanin, plumage coloration, sex determination, structural coloration, Tyto alba, ultraviolet reflectance.
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