Camouflage efficiency in a colour-polymorphic predator is dependent on environmental variation and snow presence in the wild

Charlotte Perrault, Chiara Morosinotto, Jon E. Brommer, Patrik Karell

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskriftPeer review

Sammanfattning

Colour polymorphism can be maintained by colour morph-specific benefits across environmental conditions. Currently, the amount and the duration of snow cover during winter decrease especially in northern latitudes, which can alter the potential for camouflage of animals with light and dark morphs. Tawny owls, Strix aluco, are colour-polymorphic avian predators with dark (brown) and light (grey) colour morphs, where the grey morph is presumed to enjoy camouflage benefits under snowy conditions. We studied the camouflage potential of morphs in two tawny owls potential using passerines' probability to mob in the wild during winter with and without snow. For comparison with other seasons, we also repeated the experiment during spring and autumn. We found that grey tawny owls have a lower probability of being mobbed than the brown tawny owls only during snowy winters. The two colour morphs therefore experience differential benefits across snow conditions, which may help to maintain colour morphs in the population, although further warming of winter climate will reduce the potential for camouflage for grey tawny owls in northern latitudes.

Originalspråkengelska
Artikelnummere10824
Antal sidor7
TidskriftEcology and Evolution
Volym13
Nummer12
DOI
StatusPublished - 2023 dec.

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Ekologi

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