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Flower Iridescence Increases Object Detection in the Insect Visual System without Compromising Object Identity

Overview of attention for article published in Current Biology, March 2016
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About this Attention Score

  • In the top 5% of all research outputs scored by Altmetric
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age (97th percentile)
  • High Attention Score compared to outputs of the same age and source (80th percentile)

Mentioned by

news
7 news outlets
blogs
3 blogs
twitter
32 tweeters
facebook
2 Facebook pages

Citations

dimensions_citation
21 Dimensions

Readers on

mendeley
76 Mendeley
citeulike
1 CiteULike
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Title
Flower Iridescence Increases Object Detection in the Insect Visual System without Compromising Object Identity
Published in
Current Biology, March 2016
DOI 10.1016/j.cub.2016.01.026
Pubmed ID
Authors

Heather M. Whitney, Alison Reed, Sean A. Rands, Lars Chittka, Beverley J. Glover

Abstract

Iridescence is a form of structural coloration, produced by a range of structures, in which hue is dependent on viewing angle [1-4]. One of these structures, the diffraction grating, is found both in animals (for example, beetles [2]) and in plants (on the petals of some animal pollinated flowers [5]). The behavioral impacts of floral iridescence and its potential ecological significance are unknown [6-9]. Animal-pollinated flowers are described as "sensory billboards" [10], with many floral features contributing to a conspicuous display that filters prospective pollinators. Yet floral iridescence is more subtle to the human eye than that of many animal displays because the floral diffraction grating is not perfectly regular [5-9]. This presents a puzzle: if the function of petals is to attract pollinators, then flowers might be expected to optimize iridescence to increase showiness. On the other hand, pollinators memorize floral colors as consistent advertisements of reward quality, and iridescence might corrupt flower color identity. Here we tested the trade-off between flower detectability and recognition, requiring bumblebees (Bombus terrestris) to identify artificial flowers that varied in pigmentation and degree of iridescence. We find that iridescence does increase target detectability but that "perfect" iridescence (produced by an artificial diffraction grating) corrupts target identity and bees make many mistakes. However, "imperfect" floral iridescence does not lead to mistaken target identity, while still benefitting flower detectability. We hypothesize that similar trade-offs might be found in the many naturally "imperfect" iridescence-producing structures found in animal-animal, as well as other plant-animal, interactions.

Twitter Demographics

The data shown below were collected from the profiles of 32 tweeters who shared this research output. Click here to find out more about how the information was compiled.

Mendeley readers

The data shown below were compiled from readership statistics for 76 Mendeley readers of this research output. Click here to see the associated Mendeley record.

Geographical breakdown

Country Count As %
Spain 1 1%
Germany 1 1%
Mexico 1 1%
Serbia 1 1%
Unknown 72 95%

Demographic breakdown

Readers by professional status Count As %
Researcher 21 28%
Student > Ph. D. Student 15 20%
Student > Master 14 18%
Student > Bachelor 8 11%
Unspecified 6 8%
Other 12 16%
Readers by discipline Count As %
Agricultural and Biological Sciences 43 57%
Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology 9 12%
Unspecified 8 11%
Physics and Astronomy 7 9%
Engineering 2 3%
Other 7 9%

Attention Score in Context

This research output has an Altmetric Attention Score of 95. This is our high-level measure of the quality and quantity of online attention that it has received. This Attention Score, as well as the ranking and number of research outputs shown below, was calculated when the research output was last mentioned on 20 November 2017.
All research outputs
#160,263
of 13,099,076 outputs
Outputs from Current Biology
#847
of 9,755 outputs
Outputs of similar age
#5,891
of 267,019 outputs
Outputs of similar age from Current Biology
#39
of 195 outputs
Altmetric has tracked 13,099,076 research outputs across all sources so far. Compared to these this one has done particularly well and is in the 98th percentile: it's in the top 5% of all research outputs ever tracked by Altmetric.
So far Altmetric has tracked 9,755 research outputs from this source. They typically receive a lot more attention than average, with a mean Attention Score of 40.2. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 91% of its peers.
Older research outputs will score higher simply because they've had more time to accumulate mentions. To account for age we can compare this Altmetric Attention Score to the 267,019 tracked outputs that were published within six weeks on either side of this one in any source. This one has done particularly well, scoring higher than 97% of its contemporaries.
We're also able to compare this research output to 195 others from the same source and published within six weeks on either side of this one. This one has done well, scoring higher than 80% of its contemporaries.