Parrots, long a favorite pet animal, are attractive to owners because of their vibrant colors. But those colors may mean more to parrots than what meets the eye.
For more than a century, biochemists have known that parrots use an unusual set of pigments to produce their rainbow of plumage colors, but their biochemical identity has remained elusive. Now, an Arizona State University researcher has uncovered the chemistry behind the colors of parrots, describing on a molecular level what is responsible for their bright red feathers.
The work casts a new light on what is chemically responsible for the colors of birds, and defies previous assumptions and explanations for color variations in parrots, said Kevin McGraw, an assistant professor in ASUs School of Life Sciences. "Evolutionary biologists have not really thought hard about parrot coloration," said McGraw. "This research is exposing a whole new world of color communication in parrots and the potential physiological and biochemical roles of the new molecules we found in our work."
Skip Derra | EurekAlert!
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