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      Melanin‐based ornament darkness positively correlates with across‐season nutritional condition

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          Abstract

          Sexually dimorphic ornamental traits are widely regarded as indicators of nutritional condition. However, variation of nutritional condition outside the reproductive and the ornament production seasons has rarely been considered, although it affects the generality of information content, especially for ornaments that may be used across the year. We measured several indicators of migratory and molt condition in male and female blackcaps ( Sylvia atricapilla) during their autumn migration, and quantified their crown reflectance. We detected robust correlations between migratory and molt condition indices, and the correlation structure was similar in the two sexes. Furthermore, the across‐season measure of body condition was positively related to the darkness of the black crown in males, while being unrelated to reflectance traits of the reddish crown in females. Our results reinforce the possibility that some melanin‐based ornaments may be year‐round indicators of individual quality via their dependence on nutritional condition.

          Abstract

          We found a positive correlation between the expression of a melanin‐based plumage ornament and an across‐season measure of body condition. These findings support a mixed interpretation of the information content of melanin ornamentation, with the simultaneous presence of condition‐dependence and pleiotropy.

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          Most cited references 75

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          The Lek Paradox and the Capture of Genetic Variance by Condition Dependent Traits

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            Pleiotropy in the melanocortin system, coloration and behavioural syndromes.

            In vertebrates, melanin-based coloration is often associated with variation in physiological and behavioural traits. We propose that this association stems from pleiotropic effects of the genes regulating the synthesis of brown to black eumelanin. The most important regulators are the melanocortin 1 receptor and its ligands, the melanocortin agonists and the agouti-signalling protein antagonist. On the basis of the physiological and behavioural functions of the melanocortins, we predict five categories of traits correlated with melanin-based coloration. A review of the literature indeed reveals that, as predicted, darker wild vertebrates are more aggressive, sexually active and resistant to stress than lighter individuals. Pleiotropic effects of the melanocortins might thus account for the widespread covariance between melanin-based coloration and other phenotypic traits in vertebrates.
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              RESTITUTION OF MASS–SIZE RESIDUALS: VALIDATING BODY CONDITION INDICES

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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                gergely.hegyi@ttk.elte.hu
                Journal
                Ecol Evol
                Ecol Evol
                10.1002/(ISSN)2045-7758
                ECE3
                Ecology and Evolution
                John Wiley and Sons Inc. (Hoboken )
                2045-7758
                12 October 2020
                December 2020
                : 10
                : 23 ( doiID: 10.1002/ece3.v10.23 )
                : 13087-13094
                Affiliations
                [ 1 ] Department of Systematic Zoology and Ecology ELTE Eötvös Loránd University Budapest Hungary
                [ 2 ] Department of Anatomy, Cell and Developmental Biology ELTE Eötvös Loránd University Budapest Hungary
                Author notes
                [* ] Correspondence

                Gergely Hegyi, Department of Systematic Zoology and Ecology, ELTE Eötvös Loránd University, Pázmány Péter sétány 1/C, H1117 Budapest, Hungary.

                Email: gergely.hegyi@ 123456ttk.elte.hu

                Article
                ECE36898
                10.1002/ece3.6898
                7713921
                © 2020 The Authors. Ecology and Evolution published by John Wiley & Sons Ltd.

                This is an open access article under the terms of the http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/ License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Page count
                Figures: 3, Tables: 3, Pages: 8, Words: 6841
                Product
                Funding
                Funded by: Nemzeti Kutatási Fejlesztési és Innovációs Hivatal , open-funder-registry 10.13039/501100011019;
                Award ID: K124443
                Categories
                Original Research
                Original Research
                Custom metadata
                2.0
                December 2020
                Converter:WILEY_ML3GV2_TO_JATSPMC version:5.9.5 mode:remove_FC converted:03.12.2020

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