|SREL Reprint #2104|
PELAGE COLORATION IN OLDFIELD
Reflectance spectra (in full light and moonlight) of dorsal pelage
of 469 adult oldfield mice (Peromyscus polionotus) comprising
nine regional samples were compared to reflectance spectra of
corresponding surface and subsurface soil samples to test for a
selective effect of predation on color of pelage. Mice were
slightly more reddish in hue, generally had more chroma, and
were less reflective than soil at all locations. Color of pelage
within locations was not significantly correlated with color of soil.
Among all locations, brightness of pelage and soil were
significantly positively correlated. Among mainland locations,
there was a significant positive correlation between pelage and
subsurface soil brightness. Difference between pelage color of
mice and soil color (crypsis) did not differ between island and
mainland locations. Regional patterns of variation in brightness of
pelage provide support for the role of predation as a selective
force affecting color of pelage in oldfield mice. However,
variation in hue and chroma and differences in crypsis did not
support a selective-predation hypothesis.
SREL Reprint #2104
Belk, M.C. and M.H. Smith. 1995. Pelage coloration in oldfield mice (Peromyscus polionotus): antipredator adaptation? Journal of Mammalogy 77:882-890.