A1 Journal article (refereed)
Context-dependent coloration of prey and predator decision making in contrasting light environments (2022)

Nokelainen, O., de Moraes Rezende, F., Valkonen, J. K., & Mappes, J. (2022). Context-dependent coloration of prey and predator decision making in contrasting light environments. Behavioral Ecology, 33(1), 77-86. https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arab111

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Publication details

All authors or editors: Nokelainen, Ossi; de Moraes Rezende, Francisko; Valkonen, Janne K.; Mappes, Johanna

Journal or series: Behavioral Ecology

ISSN: 1045-2249

eISSN: 1465-7279

Publication year: 2022

Publication date: 18/10/2021

Volume: 33

Issue number: 1

Pages range: 77-86

Publisher: Oxford University Press (OUP)

Publication country: United Kingdom

Publication language: English

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1093/beheco/arab111

Research data link: http://urn.fi/URN:NBN:fi:jyu-202109104841

Publication open access: Openly available

Publication channel open access: Partially open access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX): https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/79239


A big question in behavioral ecology is what drives diversity of color signals. One possible explanation is that environmental conditions, such as light environment, may alter visual signaling of prey, which could affect predator decision-making. Here, we tested the context-dependent predator selection on prey coloration. In the first experiment, we tested detectability of artificial visual stimuli to blue tits (Cyanistes caeruleus) by manipulating stimulus luminance and chromatic context of the background. We expected the presence of the chromatic context to facilitate faster target detection. As expected, blue tits found targets on chromatic yellow background faster than on achromatic grey background whereas in the latter, targets were found with smaller contrast differences to the background. In the second experiment, we tested the effect of two light environments on the survival of aposematic, color polymorphic wood tiger moth (Arctia plantaginis). As luminance contrast should be more detectable than chromatic contrast in low light intensities, we expected birds, if they find the moths aversive, to avoid the white morph which is more conspicuous than the yellow morph in low light (and vice versa in bright light). Alternatively, birds may attack first moths that are more detectable. We found birds to attack yellow moths first in low light conditions, whereas white moths were attacked first more frequently in bright light conditions. Our results show that light environments affect predator foraging decisions, which may facilitate context-dependent selection on visual signals and diversity of prey phenotypes in the wild.

Keywords: animal behaviour; predation; eyesight; warning coloration; blue tit; wood tiger

Free keywords: behavior; cognition; color vision; psychology; receptor-noise-limited model; signal

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Ministry reporting: Yes

Reporting Year: 2022

JUFO rating: 2

Last updated on 2023-03-10 at 13:58