Mechanism of the wing colouration in the dragonfly Zenithoptera lanei (Odonata: Libellulidae) and its role in intraspecific communication.

Guillermo-Ferreira, Rhainer, Bispo, Pitagoras C., Appel, Esther, Kovalev, Alexander and Gorb, Stanislav (2015) Mechanism of the wing colouration in the dragonfly Zenithoptera lanei (Odonata: Libellulidae) and its role in intraspecific communication. Journal of Insect Physiology, 81 . pp. 129-136. DOI 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2015.07.010.

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Abstract

Zenithoptera dragonflies are known for their remarkable bluish colouration on their wings and unique male behaviour of folding and unfolding their wings while perching. However, nothing is known about the optical properties of such colouration and its structural and functional background. In this paper, we aimed to study the relationship between the wing membrane ultrastructure, surface microstructure and colour spectra of male wings in Zenithoptera lanei and test the hypothesis that colouration functions as a signal in territorial fights between males. The results show that the specific wing colouration derives from interference in alternating layers of melanized and unmelanized cuticle in the wing membrane, combined with diffuse scattering in two different layers of wax crystals on the dorsal wing surface, one lower layer of long filaments, and one upper layer of leaf-shaped crystals. The results also show that the thicker wax coverage of the dorsal surface of the wings results in increased brightness and reduced chroma. In the field experiments, we have demonstrated that there is a reduction of aggressive reactions of rivals towards individuals with experimentally reduced amount of blue wing colouration. (C) 2015 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

Document Type: Article
Additional Information: Times Cited: 0
Keywords: Colour, Optics, Iridescence, Territorial behaviour, Cuticle, Ultrastructure
Research affiliation: Kiel University > Kiel Marine Science
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Kiel University
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: No
DOI etc.: 10.1016/j.jinsphys.2015.07.010
ISSN: 0022-1910
Projects: Future Ocean
Date Deposited: 18 Oct 2016 03:45
Last Modified: 19 Jul 2019 07:57
URI: http://oceanrep.geomar.de/id/eprint/32498

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