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Dongwuxue Yanjiu. 2012 Oct;33(5):427-32.

[Natural fruit colour selection by frugivorous birds in Xishuangbanna].

[Article in Chinese]

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Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, The Chinese Academy of Sciences, China.


Black and red are the most common colors of fruit, but the reason behind this has been subject to debate. Food preferences of avian frugivores for certain colors of food have been proposed as a selection mechanism that explains these traits, but there is little evidence supporting this hypothesis. Here, we conducted a lab experiment using four colors of natural fruit to evaluate color preferences of five avian species, and we also conducted this experiment in open area and understory habitats. Our results showed that red and black fruits were selected most often in lab experiment; in field experiment, red and black fruits were also the most preferred food, but the total amount of consumed fruits differed significantly between open areas and understory habitats. Our study suggested that differences in color preferences among frugivores may potentially reflect the diversity of fruit color and frequency in Xishuangbanna.

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