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Evolution of plumage coloration in the crow family (Corvidae) with a focus on the color-producing microstructures in the feathers: a comparison of eight species
- Evolution of plumage coloration in the crow family (Corvidae) with a focus on the color-producing microstructures in the feathers: a comparison of eight species
- Lee, Sang-im; Kim, Misun; Choe, Jae Chun; Jablonski, Piotr G.
- Ewha Authors
- SCOPUS Author ID
- Issue Date
- Journal Title
- ANIMAL CELLS AND SYSTEMS
- 1976-8354; 2151-2485
- vol. 20, no. 2, pp. 95 - 102
- Plumage coloration; barb; barbule; iridescent; Corvidae
- TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD
- SCIE; SCOPUS; KCI
- Plumage coloration has been the subject for a variety of questions that comprise the center of modern evolutionary biology. Unlike carotenoids that the concentration directly influences the intensity of the color, melanin, in addition to produce brown or black colors, is often involved in producing the structural coloration such as glossiness or iridescence. As the melanin granules can be located in the barbs or the barbules, we aim to (i) discern if the colors observed at macro scale comes from the barbs, the barbules or both in a series of related species and (ii) estimate the evolutionary history of the color-producing mechanisms in the family Corvidae that are known to have melanin-based coloration. From a preliminary comparative analysis on eight representative species, we found three coloration schemes in Corvidae; (1) matte colors of brown or black that were produced in barbs and barbules; (2) non-iridescent structural colors such as blue, bluish gray and white, that were produced in the barbs and (3) iridescent structural colors that were produced only in distal barbules. Comparative character analysis of these coloration schemes suggests that the ancestral state among these species were the colors produced in the barbs and that the color produced in the distal barbules is a derived character. The evolution of iridescence seems tightly linked to the evolution of the colors produced in the distal barbules. Data from more species should be incorporated in order to grasp a full picture on the evolutionary history of plumage coloration in this group of birds.
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