Reflectance spectra from free-swimming sticklebacks (gasterosteus): Social context and eye-jaw contrast

Victor N. Rush, Jeffrey S. McKinnon, Michael A. Abney, R. Craig Sargent

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review


The color patterns ol many organisms change rapidly with social context but such dynamic-signals have been little studied with current methods In this study we applied objective spec-trophotometry techniques to the color displays of unrestrained male threespine sticklebacks, to assess the influence of social context on coloration Analyzing our data with a color space model based on stickleback visual physiology, we found that unrestrained males enhanced saturation of both their blue eye and red jaw color in response to the presence of a mature male or female conspecilic Divergence between the eye and the jaw lead to enhanced con-trast, likely increasing conspicuousncss Wc found little relationship between measures of color saturation and condition, but the color of males in better condition varied more with social context This study is the first to evaluate contrast between stickleback color pattern elements quantitatively and the first in which reflectance spectra were collected from free-swimming fish The methods presented here could be used in future studies of sticklebacks and could potentially be adapted to other animals

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTinbergen's Legacy in Behaviour
Subtitle of host publicationSixty Years of Landmark Stickleback Papers
Number of pages6
ISBN (Electronic)9789004180420
StatePublished - Jan 11 2010

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2010 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands All rights reserved

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (all)


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