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Nature. 2004 Sep 16;431(7006):262.

Ecology: ultraviolet reflectance by the skin of nestlings.

Author information

  • 1Department of Ecology & Evolution, University of Lausanne, 1015 Lausanne, Switzerland.

Abstract

Birds can perceive the reflectance of ultraviolet light by biological structures. Here we show that the skin of the mouth and body of starling nestlings substantially reflects light in the ultraviolet range and that young in which this reflectance is reduced will gain less mass than controls, despite low background levels of ultraviolet and visible light in the nest. We suggest that this ultraviolet reflectance from starling nestlings and its contrast with surrounding surfaces are important for parental decisions about food allocation.

PMID:
15372020
DOI:
10.1038/431262a
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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