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Camouflaged or tanned: plasticity in freshwater snail pigmentation.

Ahlgren, Johan LU ; Yang, Xi; Hansson, Lars-Anders LU and Brönmark, Christer LU (2013) In Biology letters 9(5). p.4-20130464
Abstract
By having phenotypically plastic traits, many organisms optimize their fitness in response to fluctuating threats. Freshwater snails with translucent shells, e.g. snails from the Radix genus, differ considerably in their mantle pigmentation patterns, with snails from the same water body ranging from being completely dark pigmented to having only a few dark patterns. These pigmentation differences have previously been suggested to be genetically fixed, but we propose that this polymorphism is owing to phenotypic plasticity in response to a fluctuating environment. Hence, we here aimed to assess whether common stressors, including ultraviolet radiation (UVR) and predation, induce a plastic response in mantle pigmentation patterns of Radix... (More)
By having phenotypically plastic traits, many organisms optimize their fitness in response to fluctuating threats. Freshwater snails with translucent shells, e.g. snails from the Radix genus, differ considerably in their mantle pigmentation patterns, with snails from the same water body ranging from being completely dark pigmented to having only a few dark patterns. These pigmentation differences have previously been suggested to be genetically fixed, but we propose that this polymorphism is owing to phenotypic plasticity in response to a fluctuating environment. Hence, we here aimed to assess whether common stressors, including ultraviolet radiation (UVR) and predation, induce a plastic response in mantle pigmentation patterns of Radix balthica. We show, in contrast to previous studies, that snails are plastic in their expression of mantle pigmentation in response to changes in UVR and predator threats, i.e. differences among populations are not genetically fixed. When exposed to cues from visually hunting fish, R. balthica increased the proportion of their dark pigmentation, suggesting a crypsis strategy. Snails increased their pigmentation even further in response to UVR, but this also led to a reduction in pattern complexity. Furthermore, when exposed to UVR and fish simultaneously, snails responded in the same way as in the UVR treatment, suggesting a trade-off between photoprotection and crypsis. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
subject
keywords
inducible defence, phenotypic plasticity, pigmentation patterns, ultraviolet, predator threat
in
Biology letters
volume
9
issue
5
pages
4 - 20130464
publisher
Royal Society
external identifiers
  • wos:000330289600021
  • pmid:24046875
  • scopus:84947798770
ISSN
1744-9561
DOI
10.1098/rsbl.2013.0464
project
BECC
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
a01037ec-94e4-4d60-9d36-7f4835a1921f (old id 4065689)
date added to LUP
2013-11-19 15:13:55
date last changed
2019-10-06 03:15:00
@article{a01037ec-94e4-4d60-9d36-7f4835a1921f,
  abstract     = {By having phenotypically plastic traits, many organisms optimize their fitness in response to fluctuating threats. Freshwater snails with translucent shells, e.g. snails from the Radix genus, differ considerably in their mantle pigmentation patterns, with snails from the same water body ranging from being completely dark pigmented to having only a few dark patterns. These pigmentation differences have previously been suggested to be genetically fixed, but we propose that this polymorphism is owing to phenotypic plasticity in response to a fluctuating environment. Hence, we here aimed to assess whether common stressors, including ultraviolet radiation (UVR) and predation, induce a plastic response in mantle pigmentation patterns of Radix balthica. We show, in contrast to previous studies, that snails are plastic in their expression of mantle pigmentation in response to changes in UVR and predator threats, i.e. differences among populations are not genetically fixed. When exposed to cues from visually hunting fish, R. balthica increased the proportion of their dark pigmentation, suggesting a crypsis strategy. Snails increased their pigmentation even further in response to UVR, but this also led to a reduction in pattern complexity. Furthermore, when exposed to UVR and fish simultaneously, snails responded in the same way as in the UVR treatment, suggesting a trade-off between photoprotection and crypsis.},
  author       = {Ahlgren, Johan and Yang, Xi and Hansson, Lars-Anders and Brönmark, Christer},
  issn         = {1744-9561},
  keyword      = {inducible defence,phenotypic plasticity,pigmentation patterns,ultraviolet,predator threat},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {5},
  pages        = {4--20130464},
  publisher    = {Royal Society},
  series       = {Biology letters},
  title        = {Camouflaged or tanned: plasticity in freshwater snail pigmentation.},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1098/rsbl.2013.0464},
  volume       = {9},
  year         = {2013},
}