How Much Pigment Should Flowers Have? Flowers With Moderate Pigmentation Have Highest Color Contrast

Casper J. Van Der Kooi*

*Bijbehorende auteur voor dit werk

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Floral pigments are a core component of flower colors, but how much pigment a flower should have to yield a strong visual signal to pollinators is unknown. Using an optical model and taking white, blue, yellow and red flowers as case studies, I investigate how the amount of pigment determines a flower’s color contrast. Modeled reflectance spectra are interpreted using established insect color vision models. Contrast as a function of the amount of pigment shows a pattern of diminishing return. Low pigment amounts yield pale colors, intermediate amounts yield high contrast, and extreme amounts of pigment do not further increase, and sometimes even decrease, a flower’s color contrast. An intermediate amount of floral pigment thus yields the highest visibility, a finding that is corroborated by previous behavioral experiments on bees. The implications for studies on plant-pollinator signaling, intraspecific flower color variation and the costs of flower color are discussed.
Originele taal-2English
Artikelnummer731626
Pagina's (van-tot)1
Aantal pagina's8
TijdschriftFrontiers in Ecology and Evolution
Volume9
DOI's
StatusPublished - 23-sep-2021

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