Colourful stripes send mixed messages to safe and risky partners in a diffuse cleaning mutualism.

@article{Lettieri2010ColourfulSS,
  title={Colourful stripes send mixed messages to safe and risky partners in a diffuse cleaning mutualism.},
  author={Lauren Lettieri and J Todd Streelman},
  journal={Journal of evolutionary biology},
  year={2010},
  volume={23 11},
  pages={2289-99}
}
The steps by which neutral, random and/or negative biological interactions evolve into mutualistic ones remain poorly understood. Here, we study Elacatinus gobies and the 'client' fishes they clean. Colourful stripes are common to mutualist cleaners and noncleaning sister species. Blue stripes are unique to cleaners and are more conspicuous to predators than are basal yellow or green stripes. In turn, we focused on the role of colour as a potentially specialized signal. We show that cleaners… CONTINUE READING

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