Event Abstract

Using colour vision principles to understand criteria for mate choice

  • 1 Deakin University, School of Life & Environmental Sciences, Australia

Understanding how visual signals are perceived and used allows usto make explicit predictions about the direction of evolution. I will use Australian Bowerbirds to show how a knowledge of bird colour vision allows testable predictions about visual signals used in sexual selection. Bowerbirds choose colours for display and to decorate their bowers which maximise the colour contrast within the entire visual signal (plumage + bower) as well as between the signal and the visual background. One species also uses geometrical tricks in bower design which present illusions, colour enhancement, and surprise color effects to the watching female, attracting her attention for longer than if not present. Finally, the colour scheme of bowerbird plumage forms a line in bird colour vision space which is unique to each species, except those which hybridise, and this means that species recognition would only require a single horizontal cell and ganglion in the retina. Species recognition may not require complex pattern recognition mechanisms to work well, at least in bowerbirds.


I thank the symposium organizer, Dr. Varvara Vedenina, for inviting me to this symposium.

Keywords: Animal Behaivor, Animal Color Vision, Attention Capture, Behavioural Ecology, Color Contrast, mate choice, Predicting Behavior, sensory ecology

Conference: Tenth International Congress of Neuroethology, College Park. Maryland USA, United States, 5 Aug - 10 Aug, 2012.

Presentation Type: Invited Symposium (only for people who have been invited to a particular symposium)

Topic: Sensory: Vision

Citation: Endler JA (2012). Using colour vision principles to understand criteria for mate choice. Conference Abstract: Tenth International Congress of Neuroethology. doi: 10.3389/conf.fnbeh.2012.27.00019

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Received: 16 Apr 2012; Published Online: 07 Jul 2012.

* Correspondence: Prof. John A Endler, Deakin University, School of Life & Environmental Sciences, Geelong, VIC, 3216, Australia, John.Endler@deakin.edu.au