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    Fish with red fluorescent eyes forage more efficiently under dim, blue-green light conditions.

    BMC Ecol 2017 04 20;17(1):18. Epub 2017 Apr 20.
    Department of Animal Evolutionary Ecology, Institution for Evolution and Ecology, University of Tuebingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 28, 72076, Tuebingen, Germany.
    Background: Natural red fluorescence is particularly conspicuous in the eyes of some small, benthic, predatory fishes. Fluorescence also increases in relative efficiency with increasing depth, which has generated speculation about its possible function as a "light organ" to detect cryptic organisms under bluish light. Here we investigate whether foraging success is improved under ambient conditions that make red fluorescence stand out more, using the triplefin Tripterygion delaisi as a model system. We repeatedly presented 10 copepods to individual fish (n = 40) kept under a narrow blue-green spectrum and compared their performance with that under a broad spectrum with the same overall brightness. The experiment was repeated for two levels of brightness, a shaded one representing 0.4% of the light present at the surface and a heavily shaded one with about 0.01% of the surface brightness.

    Results: Fish were 7% more successful at catching copepods under the narrow, fluorescence-friendly spectrum than under the broad spectrum. However, this effect was significant under the heavily shaded light treatment only.

    Conclusions: This outcome corroborates previous predictions that fluorescence may be an adaptation to blue-green, heavily shaded environments, which coincides with the opportunistic biology of this species that lives in the transition zone between exposed and heavily shaded microhabitats.
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