Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Red fluorescence in reef fish: A novel signalling mechanism?

Nico K Michiels1*, Nils Anthes1, Nathan S Hart2, Jürgen Herler3, Alfred J Meixner4, Frank Schleifenbaum4, Gregor Schulte1, Ulrike E Siebeck2, Dennis Sprenger1 and Matthias F Wucherer1

Author Affiliations

1 Faculty of Biology, University of Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 28, 72076 Tübingen, Germany

2 School of Biomedical Sciences, University of Queensland, Brisbane, Queensland 4072, Australia

3 Department of Theoretical Biology, Faculty of Life Sciences, University of Vienna, Althanstrasse 14, 1090 Vienna, Austria

4 Institute of Physical and Theoretical Chemistry, University of Tübingen, Auf der Morgenstelle 8, 72076 Tübingen, Germany

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BMC Ecology 2008, 8:16  doi:10.1186/1472-6785-8-16

Published: 16 September 2008

Additional files

Additional File 1:

Red fluorescent invertebrates. Short MPG video clip showing examples of strongly fluorescent invertebrates and plants. Sequence 1a: Calcareous alga (Amphiroa) under normal viewing conditions (field at ca. 18 m depth, using Sony HD HDR-CX6EK, natural daytime illumination, no filter). Sequence 1b: Calcareous alga (Amphiroa) showing red fluorescence (field at ca. 18 m depth, using Sony HD HDR-CX6EK, natural daytime illumination, red filter, not post-processed). Sequence 2a: Unidentified alga under normal viewing conditions (field at ca. 18 m depth, using Sony HD HDR-CX6EK, natural daytime illumination, no filter). Sequence 2b: Unidentified alga showing strong red fluorescence (field at ca. 18 m depth, using Sony HD HDR-CX6EK, natural daytime illumination, red filter, not post-processed). Sequence 3a: Soft coral (or retracted anemone) under normal viewing conditions (field at ca. 18 m depth, using Sony HD HDR-CX6EK, natural daytime illumination, no filter). Sequence 3b: Soft coral (or retracted anemone) showing red fluorescence (field at ca. 18 m depth, using Sony HD HDR-CX6EK, natural daytime illumination, red filter, not post-processed). Sequence 4a: Stony coral (Mycedium) under normal viewing conditions (field at ca. 18 m depth, using Sony HD HDR-CX6EK, natural daytime illumination, no filter). Sequence 4b: Stony coral (Mycedium) showing red fluorescence (field at ca. 18 m depth, using Sony HD HDR-CX6EK, natural daytime illumination, red filter, not post-processed). Sequence 5a: Stony coral (unknown) under normal viewing conditions (field at ca. 16 m depth, using Sony HD HDR-CX6EK, natural daytime illumination, no filter). Sequence 5b: Stony coral (unknown) showing red fluorescence (field at ca. 16 m depth, using Sony HD HDR-CX6EK, natural daytime illumination, red filter, not post-processed). Sequence 6: Anemone Entacmaea quadricolor showing red fluorescence (field at ca. 18 m depth, using Sony HD HDR-CX6EK, natural daytime illumination, red filter, not post-processed). Sequence 7a: Polychaete worm (Sabellastarte indica) under normal viewing conditions (field at ca. 18 m depth, using Sony HD HDR-CX6EK, natural daytime illumination, no filter). Sequence 7b: Polychaete worm (Sabellastarte indica) showing red fluorescence (field at ca. 18 m depth, using Sony HD HDR-CX6EK, natural daytime illumination, red filter, not post-processed). Sequence 8: Red reef fluorescence as it appears when viewing the reef through a red mask. Most fluorescent structures are either stony corals or algae (field at ca. 18 m depth, using Sony HD HDR-CX6EK, natural daytime illumination, red filter, not post-processed).

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Additional File 2:

Red fluorescent fish. MPG video clip showing fluorescent fish under "normal" viewing conditions versus conditions emphasizing red fluorescence. Sequence 1a: Bryaninops natans (field at ca. 17 m depth, using, natural daytime illumination, no filter). Sequence 1b: Several groups of Bryaninops natans showing red fluorescence (in the field at 25–18 m depth, using Canon PowerShot G7 and Sony HD HDR-CX6EK under natural daytime illumination through red filter, post-processed to highlight reds). Sequence 1c: Bryaninops natans individual under changing viewing conditions (laboratory with blue illumination, moving red filter, using Canon PowerShot G7). Sequence 2a: Pseudocheilinus evanidus in its natural environment (field at 25 m, using Canon PowerShot G7, natural daytime illumination, no filter). Sequence 2b: Pseudocheilinus evanidus showing red fluorescence (field at 25 m, using Canon PowerShot G7 and Sony HD HDR-CX6EK, natural daytime illumination, red filter, post-processed to highlight reds). Sequence 3a: Ctenogobiops maculosus at the entrance of its burrow (field at 17 m, using Sony HD HDR-CX6EK, natural daytime illumination, no filter). Sequence 3b: Ctenogobiops maculosus showing red fluorescent eyes (field at 17 m, natural daytime illumination, red filter, post-processed to highlight reds). Sequence 4a: Ctenogobiops tangaroai under broad spectrum light (laboratory, using Sony HD HDR-CX6EK, white light form halogen source, no filter). Sequence 4b: Ctenogobiops tangaroai highlighting red fluorescence under blue light (laboratory, using Sony HD HDR-CX6EK, white light form halogen source filter through scuba-blue filter, recording through red filter, not post-processed). Sequence 5: Eviota pellucida (C. tangaroai in background) highlighting red fluorescence under blue light (laboratory, white light form halogen source filter through scuba-blue filter, recording through red filter, not post-processed). Sequence 6a: Enneapterygius abeli showing crypsis in large part of spectrum (laboratory, using Canon PowerShot G7, cold light source, no filter). Sequence 6b: Enneapterygius abeli showing red fluorescence (laboratory, using Canon PowerShot G7, blue light source, red filter, no post-processing). Sequence 7a: Corythoichthys schultzi showing cryptic colouration (field at ca. 20 m depth, using Sony HD HDR-CX6EK, natural daytime illumination, no filter). Sequence 7b: Corythoichthys schultzi showing red fluorescence (field at ca. 20 m depth,, natural daytime illumination, red filter, post-processed to emphasize red fluorescence).

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Additional File 3:

Fish showing behaviour indicative of signalling with red fluorescence. MPG video clip showing examples of fish behaviours that seem to involve red fluorescence. Sequence 1: Corychthoichthys schultzi pair interacting, showing use of bright tail fan (field, ca. 20 m depth, using Sony HD HDR-CX6EK, natural sunshine illumination with red filter, post-processed to highlight reds). Sequence 2a: Enneapterygius destai individual showing extreme crypsis (specimen sits in the middle, lower half, swims briefly to top right at end). Sequence 2b: Enneapterygius destai individual showing red fluorescence of eye and first dorsal fin. Note visibility of gaze orientation and waving of first dorsal fin caused by excitement (laboratory, blue illumination, using Canon PowerShot G7, red filter).

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