Ultraviolet light …..UV as an opportunity

Posted on June 26, 2010

Several fish species are capable of ultraviolet vision and have UV body patterns that are used for social signalling.  Sexually mature female sticklebacks have dark bars on the upper body that have high UV contrast with the surrounding silvery water, and UV signals influence the choice of female sticklebacks by males.  In experimental trials, a mature female was separated from a male by an angled barrier containing two optical filters.  One filter transmitted UV light but the other did not.  Male fish spent more time viewing the female through the full-spectrum filter than through the one opaque to UV.  This preference on the part of males wasn’t simply a by-product of female behaviour, since females didn’t show a bias toward either of the filters.    

Reference:   Rick, I.P. & Bakker, T.C.M.  (2008).  UV wavelengths make female three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) more attractive for males.  Behavioral Ecology & Sociobiology 62, 439–445.


Posted in: behaviour, fish