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Cellular basis of anti-predator adaptation in a lizard with autotomizable blue tail against specific predators with different colour vision

Kuriyama, T. LU ; Morimoto, G.; Miyaji, K. and Hasegawa, M. (2016) In Journal of Zoology 300(2). p.89-98
Abstract

Juveniles of numerous lizard species have a vividly blue-coloured tail that likely serves to deflect predator attacks toward the autotomizable tail rather than the lizard's body. The shades of blue colour in the tails of juvenile Plestiodon latiscutatus lizards vary across populations, most notably among those island populations with different predator assemblages. Here, we determine if this intraspecific variation is associated with the differences in colour vision capabilities of lizard predator species. If associated, it would be evidence for local adaptation of tail colour phenotype – natural selection is maximizing the conspicuousness of the tail to the dominant predator species to increase the chance of successfully deflecting... (More)

Juveniles of numerous lizard species have a vividly blue-coloured tail that likely serves to deflect predator attacks toward the autotomizable tail rather than the lizard's body. The shades of blue colour in the tails of juvenile Plestiodon latiscutatus lizards vary across populations, most notably among those island populations with different predator assemblages. Here, we determine if this intraspecific variation is associated with the differences in colour vision capabilities of lizard predator species. If associated, it would be evidence for local adaptation of tail colour phenotype – natural selection is maximizing the conspicuousness of the tail to the dominant predator species to increase the chance of successfully deflecting attacks. We also use transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to determine the proximate cellular mechanisms that produce the shades of blue in different populations. We revealed that lizard tails with vivid blue reflectance evolved in communities with either weasel or snake predators, two groups of animals with the ability to detect blue wavelengths. However, lizard tail UV reflectance was much higher in populations with only snake predators; that snakes can detect UV, yet weasels cannot, suggests that high UV reflectance is an adaptation to increase tail conspicuousness specifically to snake predators. Finally, a cryptic brown tail evolved independently on the islands where birds are the primary lizard predator. We suggest that because birds have keen visual acuity; a brown, camouflaged phenotype is more advantageous. We also determined through TEM that the thickness of light reflecting platelets in iridophores, and densities of iridophores and xanthophores, predicted the wavelengths and intensity of light reflected by the lizard tail. For example, blue coloration was produced by selective reflection of short wavelengths of light by the thin light reflecting platelets of the iridophore. Greater iridophore density increased light reflectance, while greater xanthophore density decreased light reflectance.

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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
anti-predator adaptation, autotomy, colour vision, iridophore, Plestiodon latiscutatus, TEM, transmission electron microscopy, UV
in
Journal of Zoology
volume
300
issue
2
pages
10 pages
publisher
Wiley-Blackwell
external identifiers
  • scopus:84977568177
  • wos:000385430900003
ISSN
0952-8369
DOI
10.1111/jzo.12361
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
8f4c8ad2-696c-47e1-8dd8-0f1950544041
date added to LUP
2016-11-01 13:19:34
date last changed
2017-10-29 04:53:28
@article{8f4c8ad2-696c-47e1-8dd8-0f1950544041,
  abstract     = {<p>Juveniles of numerous lizard species have a vividly blue-coloured tail that likely serves to deflect predator attacks toward the autotomizable tail rather than the lizard's body. The shades of blue colour in the tails of juvenile Plestiodon latiscutatus lizards vary across populations, most notably among those island populations with different predator assemblages. Here, we determine if this intraspecific variation is associated with the differences in colour vision capabilities of lizard predator species. If associated, it would be evidence for local adaptation of tail colour phenotype – natural selection is maximizing the conspicuousness of the tail to the dominant predator species to increase the chance of successfully deflecting attacks. We also use transmission electron microscopy (TEM) to determine the proximate cellular mechanisms that produce the shades of blue in different populations. We revealed that lizard tails with vivid blue reflectance evolved in communities with either weasel or snake predators, two groups of animals with the ability to detect blue wavelengths. However, lizard tail UV reflectance was much higher in populations with only snake predators; that snakes can detect UV, yet weasels cannot, suggests that high UV reflectance is an adaptation to increase tail conspicuousness specifically to snake predators. Finally, a cryptic brown tail evolved independently on the islands where birds are the primary lizard predator. We suggest that because birds have keen visual acuity; a brown, camouflaged phenotype is more advantageous. We also determined through TEM that the thickness of light reflecting platelets in iridophores, and densities of iridophores and xanthophores, predicted the wavelengths and intensity of light reflected by the lizard tail. For example, blue coloration was produced by selective reflection of short wavelengths of light by the thin light reflecting platelets of the iridophore. Greater iridophore density increased light reflectance, while greater xanthophore density decreased light reflectance.</p>},
  author       = {Kuriyama, T. and Morimoto, G. and Miyaji, K. and Hasegawa, M.},
  issn         = {0952-8369},
  keyword      = {anti-predator adaptation,autotomy,colour vision,iridophore,Plestiodon latiscutatus,TEM,transmission electron microscopy,UV},
  language     = {eng},
  month        = {10},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {89--98},
  publisher    = {Wiley-Blackwell},
  series       = {Journal of Zoology},
  title        = {Cellular basis of anti-predator adaptation in a lizard with autotomizable blue tail against specific predators with different colour vision},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jzo.12361},
  volume       = {300},
  year         = {2016},
}