Supplementary material from "Divergence in cryptic leaf colour provides local camouflage in an alpine plant"
Published on 2017-09-14T14:22:51Z (GMT) by
The efficacy of camouflage through background matching is highly environment-dependent, often resulting in intraspecific colour divergence in animals to optimize crypsis in different visual environments. This phenomenon is largely unexplored in plants, although several lines of evidence suggest they do use crypsis to avoid damage by herbivores. Using <i>Corydalis hemidicentra,</i> an alpine plant with cryptic leaf colour, we quantified background matching between leaves and surrounding rocks in five populations based on an approximate model of their butterfly enemy's colour perception. We also investigated the pigment basis of leaf colour variation and the association between feeding risk and camouflage efficacy. We show that plants exhibit remarkable colour divergence between populations, consistent with differences in rock appearances. Leaf colour varies because of a different quantitative combination of two basic pigments: chlorophyll, anthocyanin, plus different air spaces. As expected, leaf colours are better matched against their native backgrounds than against foreign ones in the eyes of the butterfly. Furthermore, improved crypsis tends to be associated with a higher level of feeding risk. These results suggest that divergent cryptic leaf colour may have evolved to optimize local camouflage in various visual environments, extending our understanding of colour evolution and intraspecific phenotype diversity in plants.
Cite this collection
Niu, Yang; Chen, Zhe; Stevens, Martin; Sun, Hang (2017): Supplementary material from "Divergence in cryptic leaf colour provides local camouflage in an alpine plant". The Royal Society.