Advanced search
Add to list

Decreased hydrophobicity of iridescent feathers : a potential cost of shiny plumage

(2011) JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY. 214(13). p.2157-2163
Author
Organization
Abstract
Honest advertisement models posit that sexually selected traits are costly to produce, maintain or otherwise bear. Brightly coloured feathers are thought to be classic examples of these models, but evidence for a cost in feathers not coloured by carotenoid pigments is scarce. Unlike pigment-based colours, iridescent feather colours are produced by light scattering in modified feather barbules that are characteristically flattened and twisted towards the feather surface. These modifications increase light reflectance, but also expose more surface area for water adhesion, suggesting a potential trade-off between colour and hydrophobicity. Using light microscopy, spectrometry, contact angle goniometry and self-cleaning experiments, we show that iridescent feathers of mallards, Anas platyrhynchos, are less hydrophobic than adjacent non-iridescent feathers, and that this is primarily caused by differences in barbule microstructure. Furthermore, as a result of this decreased hydrophobicity, iridescent feathers are less efficient at self-cleaning than non-iridescent feathers. Together, these results suggest a previously unforeseen cost of iridescent plumage traits that may help to explain the evolution and distribution of iridescence in birds.
Keywords
Anas platyrhynchos, hydrophobicity, self-cleaning, sexual selection, WATER REPELLENCY, SUPERHYDROPHOBIC SURFACES, STRUCTURAL COLORATION, CONTACT ANGLES, WETTABILITY, BIRDS, HYPOTHESIS, LOTUS, WINGS

Citation

Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:

MLA
Eliason, Chad M., and Matthew Shawkey. “Decreased Hydrophobicity of Iridescent Feathers : A Potential Cost of Shiny Plumage.” JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY, vol. 214, no. 13, 2011, pp. 2157–63, doi:10.1242/jeb.055822.
APA
Eliason, C. M., & Shawkey, M. (2011). Decreased hydrophobicity of iridescent feathers : a potential cost of shiny plumage. JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY, 214(13), 2157–2163. https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.055822
Chicago author-date
Eliason, Chad M, and Matthew Shawkey. 2011. “Decreased Hydrophobicity of Iridescent Feathers : A Potential Cost of Shiny Plumage.” JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY 214 (13): 2157–63. https://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.055822.
Chicago author-date (all authors)
Eliason, Chad M, and Matthew Shawkey. 2011. “Decreased Hydrophobicity of Iridescent Feathers : A Potential Cost of Shiny Plumage.” JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY 214 (13): 2157–2163. doi:10.1242/jeb.055822.
Vancouver
1.
Eliason CM, Shawkey M. Decreased hydrophobicity of iridescent feathers : a potential cost of shiny plumage. JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY. 2011;214(13):2157–63.
IEEE
[1]
C. M. Eliason and M. Shawkey, “Decreased hydrophobicity of iridescent feathers : a potential cost of shiny plumage,” JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY, vol. 214, no. 13, pp. 2157–2163, 2011.
@article{7176674,
  abstract     = {{Honest advertisement models posit that sexually selected traits are costly to produce, maintain or otherwise bear. Brightly coloured feathers are thought to be classic examples of these models, but evidence for a cost in feathers not coloured by carotenoid pigments is scarce. Unlike pigment-based colours, iridescent feather colours are produced by light scattering in modified feather barbules that are characteristically flattened and twisted towards the feather surface. These modifications increase light reflectance, but also expose more surface area for water adhesion, suggesting a potential trade-off between colour and hydrophobicity. Using light microscopy, spectrometry, contact angle goniometry and self-cleaning experiments, we show that iridescent feathers of mallards, Anas platyrhynchos, are less hydrophobic than adjacent non-iridescent feathers, and that this is primarily caused by differences in barbule microstructure. Furthermore, as a result of this decreased hydrophobicity, iridescent feathers are less efficient at self-cleaning than non-iridescent feathers. Together, these results suggest a previously unforeseen cost of iridescent plumage traits that may help to explain the evolution and distribution of iridescence in birds.}},
  author       = {{Eliason, Chad M and Shawkey, Matthew}},
  issn         = {{0022-0949}},
  journal      = {{JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL BIOLOGY}},
  keywords     = {{Anas platyrhynchos,hydrophobicity,self-cleaning,sexual selection,WATER REPELLENCY,SUPERHYDROPHOBIC SURFACES,STRUCTURAL COLORATION,CONTACT ANGLES,WETTABILITY,BIRDS,HYPOTHESIS,LOTUS,WINGS}},
  language     = {{eng}},
  number       = {{13}},
  pages        = {{2157--2163}},
  title        = {{Decreased hydrophobicity of iridescent feathers : a potential cost of shiny plumage}},
  url          = {{http://doi.org/10.1242/jeb.055822}},
  volume       = {{214}},
  year         = {{2011}},
}

Altmetric
View in Altmetric
Web of Science
Times cited: