In the eyes of the beholders: Female choice and avian predation risk associated with an exaggerated male butterfly color

Nathan I. Morehouse, Ronald L. Rutowski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

49 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Color ornaments are often viewed as products of countervailing sexual and natural selection, because more colorful, more attractive individuals may also be more conspicuous to predators. However, while evidence for such countervailing selection exists for vertebrate color ornaments (e.g., Trinidadian guppies), similar studies have yet to be reported in invertebrates. Indeed, evidence for female mate choice based on extant variation in male coloration is limited in invertebrates, and researchers have not explicitly asked whether more attractive males are also more conspicuous to predators. Here we provide evidence that more chromatic male cabbage white butterflies (Pieris rapae) are more attractive to females but should also be more conspicuous to predators. Female P. rapae preferentially mate with more chromatic males when choosing from populations of males with naturally occurring or commensurate, experimentally induced color variation. Mathematical models of female color vision confirm that females should be able to discriminate color differences between prospective mates. Further, chromatic and luminance contrast scores from female visual system models better predicted male mating success than did measures of male color derived more directly from color spectra. Last, models of avian color vision suggest that preferred males should be more conspicuous to known avian predators.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)768-784
Number of pages17
JournalAmerican Naturalist
Volume176
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2010

Fingerprint

predation risk
butterfly
butterflies
predation
color
predator
predators
Pieris rapae
color vision
invertebrate
invertebrates
mating success
mate choice
sexual selection
natural selection
Poecilia reticulata
vertebrate
mating behavior
cabbage
mathematical models

Keywords

  • Avian vision
  • Color ornament
  • Color vision modeling
  • Mate choice
  • Pieris rapae
  • Sexual selection

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

In the eyes of the beholders : Female choice and avian predation risk associated with an exaggerated male butterfly color. / Morehouse, Nathan I.; Rutowski, Ronald L.

In: American Naturalist, Vol. 176, No. 6, 12.2010, p. 768-784.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{78c64e3c66a44122950316fb0c13479f,
title = "In the eyes of the beholders: Female choice and avian predation risk associated with an exaggerated male butterfly color",
abstract = "Color ornaments are often viewed as products of countervailing sexual and natural selection, because more colorful, more attractive individuals may also be more conspicuous to predators. However, while evidence for such countervailing selection exists for vertebrate color ornaments (e.g., Trinidadian guppies), similar studies have yet to be reported in invertebrates. Indeed, evidence for female mate choice based on extant variation in male coloration is limited in invertebrates, and researchers have not explicitly asked whether more attractive males are also more conspicuous to predators. Here we provide evidence that more chromatic male cabbage white butterflies (Pieris rapae) are more attractive to females but should also be more conspicuous to predators. Female P. rapae preferentially mate with more chromatic males when choosing from populations of males with naturally occurring or commensurate, experimentally induced color variation. Mathematical models of female color vision confirm that females should be able to discriminate color differences between prospective mates. Further, chromatic and luminance contrast scores from female visual system models better predicted male mating success than did measures of male color derived more directly from color spectra. Last, models of avian color vision suggest that preferred males should be more conspicuous to known avian predators.",
keywords = "Avian vision, Color ornament, Color vision modeling, Mate choice, Pieris rapae, Sexual selection",
author = "Morehouse, {Nathan I.} and Rutowski, {Ronald L.}",
year = "2010",
month = "12",
doi = "10.1086/657043",
language = "English (US)",
volume = "176",
pages = "768--784",
journal = "American Naturalist",
issn = "0003-0147",
publisher = "University of Chicago",
number = "6",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - In the eyes of the beholders

T2 - Female choice and avian predation risk associated with an exaggerated male butterfly color

AU - Morehouse, Nathan I.

AU - Rutowski, Ronald L.

PY - 2010/12

Y1 - 2010/12

N2 - Color ornaments are often viewed as products of countervailing sexual and natural selection, because more colorful, more attractive individuals may also be more conspicuous to predators. However, while evidence for such countervailing selection exists for vertebrate color ornaments (e.g., Trinidadian guppies), similar studies have yet to be reported in invertebrates. Indeed, evidence for female mate choice based on extant variation in male coloration is limited in invertebrates, and researchers have not explicitly asked whether more attractive males are also more conspicuous to predators. Here we provide evidence that more chromatic male cabbage white butterflies (Pieris rapae) are more attractive to females but should also be more conspicuous to predators. Female P. rapae preferentially mate with more chromatic males when choosing from populations of males with naturally occurring or commensurate, experimentally induced color variation. Mathematical models of female color vision confirm that females should be able to discriminate color differences between prospective mates. Further, chromatic and luminance contrast scores from female visual system models better predicted male mating success than did measures of male color derived more directly from color spectra. Last, models of avian color vision suggest that preferred males should be more conspicuous to known avian predators.

AB - Color ornaments are often viewed as products of countervailing sexual and natural selection, because more colorful, more attractive individuals may also be more conspicuous to predators. However, while evidence for such countervailing selection exists for vertebrate color ornaments (e.g., Trinidadian guppies), similar studies have yet to be reported in invertebrates. Indeed, evidence for female mate choice based on extant variation in male coloration is limited in invertebrates, and researchers have not explicitly asked whether more attractive males are also more conspicuous to predators. Here we provide evidence that more chromatic male cabbage white butterflies (Pieris rapae) are more attractive to females but should also be more conspicuous to predators. Female P. rapae preferentially mate with more chromatic males when choosing from populations of males with naturally occurring or commensurate, experimentally induced color variation. Mathematical models of female color vision confirm that females should be able to discriminate color differences between prospective mates. Further, chromatic and luminance contrast scores from female visual system models better predicted male mating success than did measures of male color derived more directly from color spectra. Last, models of avian color vision suggest that preferred males should be more conspicuous to known avian predators.

KW - Avian vision

KW - Color ornament

KW - Color vision modeling

KW - Mate choice

KW - Pieris rapae

KW - Sexual selection

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=78649702754&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=78649702754&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1086/657043

DO - 10.1086/657043

M3 - Article

C2 - 20942644

AN - SCOPUS:78649702754

VL - 176

SP - 768

EP - 784

JO - American Naturalist

JF - American Naturalist

SN - 0003-0147

IS - 6

ER -