New finding of melanic three-spined sticklebacks Gasterosteus aculeatus in the Scottish Hebrides

Smith, C. ORCID: 0000-0003-3285-0379, Zięba, G., Spence, R. and Przybylski, M., 2020. New finding of melanic three-spined sticklebacks Gasterosteus aculeatus in the Scottish Hebrides. Journal of Vertebrate Biology, 69 (4): 20039. ISSN 2694-7684

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Colour traits can be elaborated through sexual selection and have potential to drive reproductive isolation. Male three-spined sticklebacks (Gasterosteus aculeatus) express striking visual signals to attract choosy females during courtship, typically expressed as red carotenoid-based pigmentation on their throat and jaw during the breeding season, along with blue eyes and blue/green flanks. The extent and intensity of red colouration in males have been linked to fitness benefits to females, including body condition, parasite resistance, parental ability and nest defence. In some populations in the Pacific Northwest of North America, male three-spined sticklebacks express melanic nuptial colouration. In these populations, male possess black throats instead of red, and have dark or black bodies. Melanic males are associated with waterbodies that are red-shifted due to the presence of tannins, where the ambient light environment is dominated by long wavelengths. Here we report the first discovery outside North America of melanic populations of three-spined sticklebacks on the island of North Uist in the Scottish Hebrides, on the northwest Atlantic coast of Europe. These populations are associated with a hotspot of stickleback morphological diversity and occur in association with red-shifted waterbodies.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Journal of Vertebrate Biology
Creators: Smith, C., Zięba, G., Spence, R. and Przybylski, M.
Publisher: Institute of Vertebrate Biology of the Czech Academy of Sciences
Date: 3 July 2020
Volume: 69
Number: 4
ISSN: 2694-7684
Divisions: Schools > School of Animal, Rural and Environmental Sciences
Record created by: Linda Sullivan
Date Added: 02 Jun 2020 08:03
Last Modified: 31 May 2021 15:06

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