The Influence of Carotenoid Acquisition and Utilization on the Maintenance of Species‐Typical Plumage Pigmentation in Male American Goldfinches (Carduelis tristis) and Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis)

@article{McGraw2001TheIO,
  title={The Influence of Carotenoid Acquisition and Utilization on the Maintenance of Species‐Typical Plumage Pigmentation in Male American Goldfinches (Carduelis tristis) and Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis)},
  author={Kevin J. McGraw and Geoffrey E. Hill and Riccardo Stradi and Robert S. Parker},
  journal={Physiological and Biochemical Zoology},
  year={2001},
  volume={74},
  pages={843 - 852}
}
Birds display a tremendous variety of carotenoid‐based colors in their plumage, but the mechanisms underlying interspecific variability in carotenoid pigmentation remain poorly understood. Because vertebrates cannot synthesize carotenoids de novo, access to pigments in the diet is one proximate factor that may shape species differences in carotenoid‐based plumage coloration. However, some birds metabolize ingested carotenoids and deposit pigments that differ in color from their dietary… 

Carotenoid access and intraspecific variation in plumage pigmentation in male American Goldfinches (Carduelis tristis) and Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis)

The results suggest that carotenoid-based plumage variation in male goldfinches and cardinals is less sensitive to pigment availability in the diet than colour variation observed in other studied taxa.

Interspecific variation in dietary carotenoid assimilation in birds: links to phylogeny and color ornamentation.

  • K. McGraw
  • Biology, Environmental Science
    Comparative biochemistry and physiology. Part B, Biochemistry & molecular biology
  • 2005

CAROTENOID PIGMENTS IN A MUTANT CARDINAL: IMPLICATIONS FOR THE GENETIC AND ENZYMATIC CONTROL MECHANISMS OF CAROTENOID METABOLISM IN BIRDS

Investigating carotenoid pigments present in the feathers of an aberrantly colored yellow Northern Cardinal to determine how metabolic pathways may have been altered found this genetic mutation did not broadly disrupt all metabolic activity, but specifically impaired only one class of metabolic reactions and its associated enzymes.

Differential Accumulation and Pigmenting Ability of Dietary Carotenoids in Colorful Finches

Zeaxanthin is preferentially accumulated in the body and serves as a more potent substrate for pigmentation than lutein in these finches, demonstrating that zeaxanthine plays unique roles in shaping the ultimate color expression of individuals.

Carotenoid pigments in male American goldfinches: what is the optimal biochemical strategy for becoming colourful?

The results indicate that the types of dietary carotenoids available across seasons do not change in American goldfinches, and that the best biochemical strategy for becoming a colourful, wild male goldfinch is to accumulate as many dietary/blood pigments as possible during moult.

Carotenoid‐Based Plumage Coloration Predicts Leukocyte Parameters during the Breeding Season in Northern Cardinals (Cardinalis cardinalis)

The finding that carotenoid pigmentation is positively associated in males with the size of the cloacal protuberance, an androgen-sensitive sex character, supports the hypothesis that the more saturated individuals increase their risk of injury, stress, and infection by engaging in more competitive behavior or by secreting more testosterone.

Differential ability of carotenoid C4-oxygenation in yellow and red bishop species (Euplectes spp.).

Assortative mating by carotenoid-based plumage colour: a quality indicator in American goldfinches, Carduelis tristis

It is argued that the yellow carotenoid coloration of goldfinches may be important in mutual mate choice and, thus, that sexual selection in this species may act upon female ornamentation, as well as the more obvious plumage signals of males.

Candidate genes for carotenoid coloration in vertebrates and their expression profiles in the carotenoid-containing plumage and bill of a wild bird

No differences in the relative expression of any of the genes were found among the quelea carotenoid phenotypes, suggesting that other genes control the polymorphic and sexually dimorphic variation in carotanoids observed in this species.
...

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