Detection of Fruit and the Selection of Primate Visual Pigments for Color Vision

  title={Detection of Fruit and the Selection of Primate Visual Pigments for Color Vision},
  author={Daniel C. Osorio and A C Smith and Misha Vorobyev and Hannah M Buchanan-Smith},
  journal={The American Naturalist},
  pages={696 - 708}
Primates have X chromosome genes for cone photopigments with sensitivity maxima from 535 to 562 nm. Old World monkeys and apes (catarrhines) and the New World (platyrrhine) genus Alouatta have separate genes for 535‐nm (medium wavelength; M) and 562‐nm (long wavelength; L) pigments. These pigments, together with a 425‐nm (short wavelength) pigment, permit trichromatic color vision. Other platyrrhines and prosimians have a single X chromosome gene but often with alleles for two or three M/L… 
Adaptive evolution of color vision as seen through the eyes of butterflies
The data show that some of the same amino acid sites are under positive selection in the photopigments of both butterflies and primates, spanning an evolutionary distance >500 million years.
Protein Limitation Explains Variation in Primate Colour Vision Phenotypes: A Unified Model for the Evolution of Primate Trichromatic Vision
Primates have an additional colour channel enabling trichromatic vision via a duplication and divergence of the L opsin gene, resulting in long and middle wavelength-sensitive photopigments, which permits enhanced discrimination of light and perception of different shades of green, yellow, orange and red.
Color vision pigment frequencies in wild tamarins (Saguinus spp.)
Analysis of the frequencies of color vision alleles in wild populations can add to understanding of the selective advantages of some color vision phenotypes over others, and shows that allele frequencies are not equal, possibly reflecting different selective regimes operating on different color vision Phenotypes.
Polymorphism of visual pigment genes in the muriqui (Primates, Atelidae)
The results affirm the existence of a single M/L cone opsin gene in the genus Brachyteles and discuss the implication of this result towards understanding the evolutionary ecology of trichromatic vision.
The adaptive value of primate color vision for predator detection
It is demonstrated that primates exhibiting better color discrimination (trichromats) excel those displaying poorer color visions (dichromat) at detecting carnivoran predators against the green foliage background.
Importance of Achromatic Contrast in Short-Range Fruit Foraging of Primates
The results suggest that luminance contrast can serve as an important cue in short-range foraging attempts despite other sensory cues that could be available and the advantage of red-green color vision in primates may not be as salient as previously thought.
Color vision diversity and significance in primates inferred from genetic and field studies
New World monkeys can serve as an excellent model to understand and evaluate the adaptive significance of primate trichromacy in a behavioral context and introduce the genetic and behavioral study of vision-behavior interrelationships in free-ranging sympatric capuchin and spider monkey populations in Costa Rica.
Trichromatic perception of flower colour improves resource detection among New World monkeys
A difference in wild primate foraging patterns based on colour vision differences is demonstrated, supporting the hypothesis that trichromacy enhances detection of small, ephemeral resources.


Colour vision as an adaptation to frugivory in primates
  • D. Osorio, M. Vorobyev
  • Biology
    Proceedings of the Royal Society of London. Series B: Biological Sciences
  • 1996
A model of retinal coding of natural spectra, based on discrimination thresholds, is used to examine the usefulness of dichromatic and trichromatic vision for finding fruit, and for identifying fruit and leaves by colour.
Ecological importance of trichromatic vision to primates
Four trichromatic primate species in Kibale Forest, Uganda, eat leaves that are colour discriminated only by red–greenness, a colour axis correlated with high protein levels and low toughness, which implicate leaf consumption, a critical food resource when fruit is scarce, as having unique value in maintaining trichromeacy in catarrhines.
Trans‐specific evolution of opsin alleles and the maintenance of trichromatic colour vision in Callitrichine primates
An extensive survey of allelic variation in both exons and introns at this locus within and among species of the Callitrichines is described, providing direct evidence for trans‐specific evolution of alleles over time periods of at least 5–6 million years, and up to 14 million years.
Fruits, foliage and the evolution of primate colour vision.
It is reported that particular trichromatic platyrrhine phenotypes may be better suited than others to foraging for particular fruits under particular conditions of illumination, and possible explanations for the maintenance of polymorphic colour vision amongst the platyr rhines are discussed.
Photopigments and colour vision in New World monkeys from the family Atelidae
To determine whether closely related monkeys share this arrangement, spectral sensitivity functions that allow inferences about cone pigments were measured for 56 monkeys from two other Atelid genera, spider monkeys (Ateles) and woolly monkeys (Lagothrix).
The molecular genetics and evolution of red and green color vision in vertebrates.
Multiple regression analyses of ancestral and contemporary MWS and LWS pigments show that single mutations S180A, H197Y, Y277F, T285A, A308S, and double mutations S 180A/H197Y shift the lambda(max) of the pigments by -7, -28, -8, -15, -27, and 11 nm, respectively.
Catarrhine photopigments are optimized for detecting targets against a foliage background.
By treating the task of searching for food as a signal-detection task, it is shown that, of all possible combinations of cone sensitivities, the spectral positions of the actual primate pigments are optimal for finding fruit or young leaves against the background of mature leaves.
Polymorphism of visual pigments in a callitrichid monkey
Allelic Variation in the Squirrel Monkey X-Linked Color Vision Gene: Biogeographical and Behavioral Correlates
No apparent correlation exists between allele frequencies and behavioral or biogeographical differences between species, casting doubt on the speculation that the spectral sensitivities of the alleles have been maintained because they are specifically well-tuned to Saimiri visual ecology.