Environmental gradients predict the ratio of environmentally acquired carotenoids to self-synthesised pteridine pigments
Stuart-Fox, Devi et al. (2022), Environmental gradients predict the ratio of environmentally acquired carotenoids to self-synthesised pteridine pigments, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.pk0p2ngnr
Carotenoids are important pigments producing integument coloration; however, their dietary availability may be limited in some environments. Many species produce red to yellow hues using a combination of carotenoids and self-synthesised pteridine pigments. A compelling but untested hypothesis is that pteridines replace carotenoids in environments where carotenoid availability is limited. Based on a phylogenetic comparative analysis of pigment concentrations in agamid lizards, we show that environmental gradients predict the ratio of carotenoids to pteridines; carotenoid concentrations are lower and pteridine concentrations higher in arid environments with low vegetation productivity. Both carotenoid and pteridine pigments were present in all species, but only pteridine concentrations explained colour variation among species and there were no correlations between carotenoid and pteridine pigments with similar hue. These results suggest that pteridine pigments replace carotenoids in carotenoid-limited environments, irrespective of skin hue, presumably because it is metabolically cheaper to synthesise pteridines than to acquire and sequester carotenoids when carotenoids are rare.
Dataset with pigment information in lizards, from liquid chromatography-mass spectrometry. Multiple species distributed in Australia, pigments extracted for multiple species and multiple individuals per species and multiple tissues per individual. Dataset contains final concentrations for 11 pigments (carotenoids and pteridines) after taking into account blanks and tissue weight.
There are no missing values for pigment information, but some missing values for sexual selection indices which were not available in the literature. Information on each column in the dataset is provided in a Metadata tab. Code to reproduce all analyses and graphs is also attached.
Australian Research Council, Award: DP200100500