Journal article

Pteridine pigments compensate for environmental availability of carotenoids

Devi Stuart-Fox, Katrina Rankin, Adrian Lutz, Adam Elliott, Andrew Hugall, Claire McLean, Iliana Medina

Authorea, Inc.


Carotenoid-based colours are a textbook example of honest signalling because carotenoids must be acquired from the environment. However, many species produce similar colours using self-synthesised pteridine pigments. A compelling but untested hypothesis is that pteridines compensate for low environmental availability of carotenoids because it is metabolically cheaper to synthesise pteridines than to acquire and sequester carotenoids. Based on a phylogenetic comparative analysis of 11 pigment concentrations in skin tissue of agamid lizards, we show that pteridine concentrations are higher and carotenoid concentrations lower in less productive environments. Both carotenoid and pteridine pigmen..

View full abstract