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Communication using eye roll reflective signalling

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences

By:
, , , and
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2006.0246

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Abstract

Body reflections in the ultraviolet (UV) are a common occurrence in nature. Despite the abundance of such signals and the presence of UV cones in the retinas of many vertebrates, the function of UV cones in the majority of taxa remains unclear. Here, we report on an unusual communication system in the razorback sucker, Xyrauchen texanus, that involves flash signals produced by quick eye rolls. Behavioural experiments and field observations indicate that this form of communication is used to signal territorial presence between males. The flash signal shows highest contrast in the UV region of fhe visual spectrum (??max???380 nm), corresponding to the maximum wavelength of absorption of the UV cone mechanism in suckers. Furthermore, these cones are restricted to the dorsal retina of the animal and the upwelling light background is such that their relative sensitivity would be enhanced by chromatic adaptation of the other cone mechanisms. Thus, the UV cones in the sucker have optimal characteristics (both in terms of absorbance and retinal topography) to constitute the main detectors of the flash signal. Our findings provide the first ecological evidence for restricted distribution of UV cones in the retina of a vertebrate. ?? 2007 The Royal Society.

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Article
Publication Subtype:
Journal Article
Title:
Communication using eye roll reflective signalling
Series title:
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
DOI:
10.1098/rspb.2006.0246
Volume
274
Issue:
1611
Year Published:
2007
Language:
English
Larger Work Type:
Article
Larger Work Subtype:
Journal Article
Larger Work Title:
Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
First page:
877
Last page:
882
Number of Pages:
6