EDITOR'S CHOICE IN BEHAVIOR
T. Gerlach et al., “Fairy wrasses perceive and respond to their deep red fluorescent coloration,” Proc R Soc B, doi:10.1098/rspb.2014.0787, 2014.
Below about 20 meters depth, little to no red light penetrates ocean water. In 2008, Nico Michiels of the University of Tübingen in Germany and his colleagues demonstrated that, inexplicably, several species of fish emit unique red fluorescent patterns on their bodies, and some are able to see this wavelength. Michiels’s team next wanted to determine whether this has any functional significance.
In an aquarium lit by monochromatic blue light, male fairy wrasses (Cirrhilabrus solorensis) responded to their reflections in a mirror by bristling their fins defensively or trying to...