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J Comp Physiol B. 2014 Jul;184(5):651-72. doi: 10.1007/s00360-014-0816-1. Epub 2014 Mar 20.

Mechanism of carotenoid coloration in the brightly colored plumages of broadbills (Eurylaimidae).

Author information

1
Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology and Peabody Museum of Natural History, Yale University, 21 Sachem Street, New Haven, CT, 06511, USA, richard.prum@yale.edu.

Abstract

The plumage carotenoids of six species from five genera of broadbills (Eurylaimidae) have been examined. These plumages are crimson, violet, purple-maroon, or yellow. Two genera also have brilliant green plumages that are produced by a combination of structural coloration and unknown carotenoids. Six different carotenoids from nine different plumage patches were identified, including two previously unknown molecules, using high-performance liquid chromatography, mass spectrometry, and MS/MS fragment analysis. The yellow pigment in Eurylaimus javanicus and Eurylaimus ochromalus is identified as the novel carotenoid, 7,8-dihydro-3'-dehydro-lutein. The yellow and green plumages of Psarisomus dalhousiae contain the unmodified dietary carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin. The brilliant green feathers of Calyptomena viridis contain a mixture of lutein and two other xanthophylls that have previously been found only in woodpeckers (Picinae). The crimson and violet colors of Cymbirhynchus, Sarcophanops, and Eurylaimus are produced by a novel pigment, which is identified as 2,3-didehydro-papilioerythrinone. The molecular structure of this carotenoid was confirmed using (1)H nuclear magnetic resonance, correlated two-dimensional spectroscopy, and two-dimensional nuclear Overhauser effect spectroscopy. Resonance Raman (rR) spectroscopy carried out at room and low temperatures was used to probe the configuration and conformation of 2,3-didehydro-papilioerythrinone in situ within crimson C. macrorhynchos and purple-red E. javanicus feathers. The rR spectra reveal that the pigment is in an all-trans configuration and appears to be relatively planar in the feathers. The likely metabolic pathways for the production of broadbill carotenoids from dietary precursors are discussed.

PMID:
24647990
DOI:
10.1007/s00360-014-0816-1
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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