Effects of light environment during growth on the expression of cone opsin genes and behavioral spectral sensitivities in guppies (Poecilia reticulata)

Yusuke Sakai, Hajime Ohtsuki, Satoshi Kasagi, Shoji Kawamura, Masakado Kawata

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    19 Citations (Scopus)

    Abstract

    Background: The visual system is important for animals for mate choice, food acquisition, and predator avoidance. Animals possessing a visual system can sense particular wavelengths of light emanating from objects and their surroundings and perceive their environments by processing information contained in these visual perceptions of light. Visual perception in individuals varies with the absorption spectra of visual pigments and the expression levels of opsin genes, which may be altered according to the light environments. However, which light environments and the mechanism by which they change opsin expression profiles and whether these changes in opsin gene expression can affect light sensitivities are largely unknown. This study determined whether the light environment during growth induced plastic changes in opsin gene expression and behavioral sensitivity to particular wavelengths of light in guppies (Poecilia reticulata). Results: Individuals grown under orange light exhibited a higher expression of long wavelength-sensitive (LWS) opsin genes and a higher sensitivity to 600-nm light than those grown under green light. In addition, we confirmed that variations in the expression levels of LWS opsin genes were related to the behavioral sensitivities to long wavelengths of light. Conclusions: The light environment during the growth stage alters the expression levels of LWS opsin genes and behavioral sensitivities to long wavelengths of light in guppies. The plastically enhanced sensitivity to background light due to changes in opsin gene expression can enhance the detection and visibility of predators and foods, thereby affecting survival. Moreover, changes in sensitivities to orange light may lead to changes in the discrimination of orange/red colors of male guppies and might alter female preferences for male color patterns.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number106
    JournalBMC Evolutionary Biology
    Volume16
    Issue number1
    DOIs
    Publication statusPublished - 2016 May 18

    Keywords

    • Color vision
    • Light environment
    • Opsin
    • Sensory drive
    • Sexual signals

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

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