Journal article

The Paradox of Iridescent Signals

Devi Stuart-Fox, Laura Ospina-Rozo, Leslie Ng, Amanda M Franklin

Trends in Ecology & Evolution | ELSEVIER SCIENCE LONDON | Published : 2021

Abstract

Signals reliably convey information to a receiver. To be reliable, differences between individuals in signal properties must be consistent and easily perceived and evaluated by receivers. Iridescent objects are often striking and vivid, but their appearance can change dramatically with viewing geometry and illumination. The changeable nature of iridescent surfaces creates a paradox: how can they be reliable signals? We contend that iridescent color patches can be reliable signals only if accompanied by specific adaptations to enhance reliability, such as structures and behaviors that limit perceived hue shift or enhance and control directionality. We highlight the challenges of studying irid..

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