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Pigment Cell Melanoma Res. 2011 Aug;24(4):614-7. doi: 10.1111/j.1755-148X.2011.00861.x. Epub 2011 May 5.

Integumental reddish-violet coloration owing to novel dichromatic chromatophores in the teleost fish, Pseudochromis diadema.

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Department of Biophysics, Faculty of Science, Kyoto University, Kyoto, Japan.


In the reddish-violet parts of the skin of the diadema pseudochromis Pseudochromis diadema, we found novel dichromatic chromatophores with a reddish pigment and reflecting platelets. We named these novel cells 'erythro-iridophores'. In standard physiological solution, erythro-iridophores displayed two hues, red and dark violet when viewed with an optical microscope under ordinary transmission light and epi-illumination optics, respectively. Under transmission electron microscopy, however, we observed no typical red chromatosomes, i.e., erythrosomes, in the cytoplasm. High-performance thin-layer chromatography (HPTLC) analysis of the pigment eluted from the erythro-iridophores indicated that carotenoid is the main pigment generating the reddish color. Furthermore, when the irrigating medium was a K(+)-rich saline solution, the color reflected from the erythro-iridophores changed from dark violet to sky blue, but the red coloration remained. The motile activities of the erythro-iridophores may participate in the changes in the reddish-violet shades of the pseudochromis fish.

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