John A Endler

John A Endler
Deakin University · Centre for Integrative Ecology

Ph.D., University of Edinburgh, UK

About

214
Publications
81,830
Reads
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30,239
Citations
Introduction
I think of myself as a 19th century natural historian who uses 21st century techniques. I particuarly like the area of overlap between Evolution, Ecology, Animal Behaviour and Neuroethology and I greatly enjoy figuring out how things work.
Additional affiliations
January 2010 - present
Deakin University
Position
  • Alfred Deakin Professor
July 2006 - December 2009
University of Exeter
Position
  • Anniversary Professor
Description
  • Founded the Center for Research in Animal Behaviour as well as an undergraduate degree in Animal Behaviour
July 1996 - December 2006
University of California, Santa Barbara
Position
  • Professor of Evolution
Education
July 1968 - December 1972
The University of Edinburgh
Field of study
  • Zoology

Publications

Publications (214)
Preprint
Edge detection is important for object detection and recognition. However, we do not know whether edge statistics predict the detection of prey by non-human predators. Understanding the link between image statistics and animal behaviour is crucial and of increasing importance given the growing availability of image analyses and their application ac...
Article
Full-text available
Animal use color vision in a range of behaviours. Visual performance is limited by thresholds, which are set by noise in photoreceptors and subsequent neural processing. The receptor noise limited (RNL) model of color discrimination is widely used for modelling color vision and accounts well for experimental data from many species. In one of the mo...
Article
Full-text available
Complex sexual signals spanning multiple sensory modalities may be common in nature, yet few studies have explored how combinations of phenotypic traits influence male attractiveness and mating success. Here, we investigate whether combinations of multiple male phenotypic traits (both within and across sensory modalities) predict male mating and fe...
Preprint
In a variety of aposematic species, the conspicuousness of an individual's warning signal and the quantity of its chemical defence are positively correlated. This apparent honest signalling in aposematism is predicted by resource competition models which assume that the production and maintenance of aposematic defences compete for access to antioxi...
Article
Ontogenetic colour change occurs in a diversity of vertebrate taxa, and may be closely linked to dietary changes throughout development. In various species, red, orange, and yellow colouration can be enhanced by the consumption of carotenoids. However, a paucity of long-term dietary manipulation studies means that little is known of the role of ind...
Article
While craft apprenticeship can be understood as socially mediated individual learning, the ensuing prediction of individual and cultural object traits within craft communities has not been investigated. Here we provide an assessment of vessel shape variations occurring through cultural transmission and their visual perception by the craftsmen. To t...
Article
Producing colored signals often requires consuming dietary carotenoid pigments. Evidence that food deprivation can reduce coloration, however, raises the question of whether other dietary nutrients contribute to signal coloration, and furthermore, whether individuals can voluntarily select food combinations to achieve optimal coloration. We created...
Article
The sublethal effects of infectious disease on reproductive behaviour and mating success are not well understood. Here, we investigated predictors of male mating success in one of Australia's most critically endangered vertebrates: the northern corroboree frog, Pseudophryne pengilleyi. Using a genomic approach to assign parentage, we explored wheth...
Article
Rapid colour change is widespread in animals and allows them to respond dynamically to the physical and social environment. However, few studies have examined the information conveyed by dynamic colour signals in different social contexts, such as courtship and rivalry contests. Furthermore, dynamic colour change on different body regions may be su...
Article
The presence of various combinations of adjacent colors within polymorphic species’ color pattern could have a major impact on mate choice. We studied the role of pattern geometry in predicting mate choice in guppies using boundary strength analysis (BSA). BSA estimates the visual contrast intensity between two adjacent color patches (ΔS) weighted...
Article
Full-text available
Studies have documented that traditional motor skills (i.e. motor habits) are part of the cultural way of life that characterises each society. Yet, it is still unclear to what extent motor skills are inherited through culture. Drawing on ethnology and motor behaviour, we addressed this issue through a detailed description of traditional pottery sk...
Article
Full-text available
To be effective, animal colour signals must attract attention-and therefore need to be conspicuous. To understand the signal function, it is useful to evaluate their conspicuousness to relevant viewers under various environmental conditions, including when visual scenes are cluttered by objects of varying colour. A widely used metric of colour diff...
Article
Full-text available
Ceramics are quintessential indicators of human culture and its evolution across generations of social learners. Cultural transmission and evolution theory frequently emphasizes apprentices' need for accurate imitation (high-fidelity copying) of their mentors' actions. However, the ensuing prediction of standardized fashioning patterns within commu...
Article
Full-text available
Although animals such as spiders, fish, and birds have very different anatomies, the basic mechanisms that govern their perception, decision-making, learning, reproduction, and death have striking similarities. These mechanisms have apparently allowed the development of general intelligence in nature. This led us to the idea of approaching artifici...
Article
Full-text available
To understand the function of colour signals in nature, we require robust quantitative analytical frameworks to enable us to estimate how animal and plant colour patterns appear against their natural background as viewed by ecologically relevant species. Due to the quantitative limitations of existing methods, colour and pattern are rarely analysed...
Chapter
Biotremology has developed enormously since the previous book in this series was published in 2014. As is common in a rapidly growing subject, the growth is uneven with some aspects of biotremology, as well as some species groups, covered more deeply than others. This chapter attempts to encourage work in all aspects of the subject by presenting a...
Book
Full-text available
This volume is a self-contained companion piece to Studying Vibrational Communication, published in 2014 within the same series. The field has expanded considerably since then, and has even acquired a name of its own: biotremology. In this context, the book reports on new concepts in this fascinating discipline, and features chapters on state-of-t...
Article
Consideration of the properties of the sources of selection potentially helps biologists account for variation in selection. Here we explore how the variability of natural selection is affected by organisms that regulate the experienced environment through their activities (whether by constructing components of their local environments, such as nes...
Article
Colour signals are often made up of a number of colour patches. The position of these patches within a pattern has the potential to influence signal conspicuousness, especially if viewers attend to local rather than global aspects of the colour pattern. If local contrast is important, then signal efficacy should be highest when highly contrasting p...
Article
The wings of butterflies and moths generate some of the most spectacular visual displays observed in nature [1-3]. Particularly striking effects are seen when light interferes with nanostructure materials in the wing scales, generating bright, directional colors that often serve as dynamic visual signals [4]. Structural coloration is not known in n...
Article
Full-text available
Individuals of the same population differ consistently from each other in the average expression of behavioral and physiological traits. Often, such traits are integrated and thus correlated with each other. However, the underlying proximate mechanisms generating and maintaining this among-individual covariation are still poorly understood. The mel...
Preprint
Full-text available
To understand the function of colour signals in nature, we require robust quantitative analytical frameworks to enable us to estimate how animal and plant colour patterns appear against their natural background as viewed by ecologically relevant species. Due to the quantitative limitations of existing methods, colour and pattern are rarely analysed...
Article
Full-text available
1.Biological colouration presents a canvas for the study of ecological and evolutionary processes. Enduring interest in colour‐based phenotypes has driven, and been driven by, improved techniques for quantifying colour patterns in ever‐more relevant ways, yet the need for flexible, open frameworks for data processing and analysis persists. 2.Here w...
Article
Aim Animal coloration is expected to differ between populations in different habitats according to Gloger's rule, with darker animals found in more humid, vegetated or warmer environments. Yet despite considerable support across the globe, the mechanisms behind this biogeographical rule are currently still unclear. Exploiting a ring species with pl...
Article
When the environment changes, sensory systems can adapt plastically or evolve genetically to the new surroundings, and traits and behaviours reliant on these sensory systems may also change, leading to altered evolutionary trajectories. We tested for differences in colour‐based foraging preferences of guppies (Poecilia reticulata) that lived for 6–...
Article
Full-text available
Colour vision mediates ecologically relevant tasks for many animals, such as mate choice, foraging and predator avoidance. However, our understanding of animal colour perception is largely derived from human psychophysics, and behavioural tests of non-human animals are required to understand how colour signals are perceived. Here, we introduce a no...
Article
Full-text available
At the crossroad of archaeology and experimental psychology, we addressed the issue of inter-individual variability in traditional ceramic shapes. The goal was to explore whether such variability could imply potter signatures. We setup a field experiment with five expert Nepalese potters, asking them to produce three shapes (replicated five times)....
Article
The sensory drive hypothesis proposes that natural selection on certain behaviours will alter sensory system properties and result in correlated evolution of unrelated behaviours reliant on that sensory system. Here, we used artificially selected populations to demonstrate that selection on colour-based foraging behaviour is associated with diverge...
Preprint
Full-text available
Biological colouration presents a canvas for the study of ecological and evolutionary processes. Enduring interest in colour-based phenotypes has driven, and been driven by, improved techniques for quantifying colour patterns in ever-more relevant ways, yet the need for flexible, open frameworks for data processing and analysis persists. Here we in...
Preprint
Full-text available
Colour vision mediates ecologically relevant tasks for many animals, such as mate choice, foraging and predator avoidance. However, our understanding of animal colour perception is largely derived from human psychophysics, even though animal visual systems differ from our own. Behavioural tests of non-human animals are required to understand how co...
Article
Full-text available
1.Colour patterns are used by many species to make decisions that ultimately affect their Darwinian fitness. Colour patterns consist of a mosaic of patches that differ in geometry and visual properties. Although traditionally pattern geometry and colour patch visual properties are analysed separately, these components are likely to work together as...
Article
Full-text available
The sensory drive hypothesis predicts that across different light environments sexually selected color patterns will change to increase an animal's visual communication efficiency within different habitats. This is because individuals with more efficient signal components are likely to have more successful matings and hence produce more offspring....
Article
Full-text available
Mimicry of warning signals is common, and can be mutualistic when mimetic species harbour equal levels of defence (Müllerian), or parasitic when mimics are undefended but still gain protection from their resemblance to the model (Batesian). However, whether chemically defended mimics should be similar in terms of toxicity (i.e. causing damage to th...
Preprint
Colour patterns are used by many species to make decisions that ultimately affect their Darwinian fitness. Colour patterns consist of a mosaic of patches that differ in geometry and visual properties. Although traditionally pattern geometry and colour patch visual properties are analysed separately, these components are likely to work together as a...
Article
Full-text available
It has been 25 years since the formalization of the Sensory Drive hypothesis was published in the American Naturalist (1992). Since then, there has been an explosion of research identifying its utility in contributing to our understanding of inter- and intra-specific variation in sensory systems and signaling properties. The main tenet of Sensory D...
Article
High mating effort leads to choosiness because each mating event reduces future reproductive potential. Many studies have shown that males adjust their sexual behaviour relative to female fecundity and encounter rate. However, little is known about the effects of a male's past mating experiences. We used guppies, Poecilia reticulata, to investigate...
Article
Full-text available
Light environments critically impact species that rely on vision to survive and reproduce. Animal visual systems must accommodate changes in light that occur from minutes to years, yet the mechanistic basis of their response to spectral (color) changes is largely unknown. Here we used a laboratory experiment where replicate guppy populations were k...
Article
Sensory drive proposes that natural selection on non‐mating behaviours (e.g. foraging preferences) alters sensory system properties and results in a correlated effect on mating preferences and subsequently sexual traits. In colour‐based systems, we can test this by selecting on non‐mating colour preferences and testing for responses in colour‐based...
Article
The benefits of colour change are expected to vary seasonally because of changes in reproductive activity, temperature and, potentially, predation risk; yet temporal variation in colour change has seldom been examined. We measured colour change in spring and autumn using captive individuals from two differently coloured populations of the central b...
Article
Full-text available
Specular reflection appears as a bright spot or highlight on any smooth glossy convex surface and is caused by a near mirror-like reflectance off the surface. Convex shapes always provide the ideal geometry for highlights, areas of very strong reflectance, regardless of the orientation of the surface or position of the receiver. Despite highlights...
Article
Full-text available
Recent developments in sexual selection theory suggest that on their own, mate preferences can promote the maintenance of sexual trait diversity. However, how mate preferences constrain the permissiveness of sexual trait diversity in different environmental regimes remains an open question. Here, we examine how a range of mate choice parameters aff...
Article
Organisms modify and choose components of their local environments. This 'niche construction' can alter ecological processes, modify natural selection and contribute to inheritance through ecological legacies. Here, we propose that niche construction initiates and modifies the selection directly affecting the constructor, and on other species, in a...
Article
Full-text available
Animal colour patterns are a model system for understanding evolution because they are unusually accessible for study and experimental manipulation. This is possible because their functions are readily identifiable. In this final paper of the symposium we provide a diagram of the processes affecting colour patterns and use this to summarize their f...
Article
Full-text available
How can a pollinator, like the honey bee, perceive the same colors on visited flowers, despite continuous and rapid changes in ambient illumination and background color? A hundred years ago, von Kries proposed an elegant solution to this problem, color constancy, which is currently incorporated in many imaging and technological applications. Howeve...
Article
Full-text available
All human societies have music with a rhythmic “beat,” typically produced with percussive instruments such as drums. The set of capacities that allows humans to produce and perceive music appears to be deeply rooted in human biology, but an understanding of its evolutionary origins requires cross-taxa comparisons. We show that drumming by palm cock...
Article
Mating decisions are often plastic and individuals adjust their decisions depending on the social and ecological environment. Although the implications of the social environment on mate choice has been well studied in species with parental care, surprisingly little research has examined the role played by the social environment experienced during o...
Article
Full-text available
Deimatic or 'startle' displays cause a receiver to recoil reflexively in response to a sudden change in sensory input. Deimatism is sometimes implicitly treated as a form of aposematism (unprofitability associated with a signal). However, the fundamental difference is, in order to provide protection, deimatism does not require a predator to have an...
Article
Animals may improve camouflage by both dynamic colour change and local evolutionary adaptation of colour but we have little understanding of their relative importance in colour-changing species. We tested for differences in colour change in response to background colour and light intensity in two populations of central bearded dragon lizards (Pogon...
Article
Phenotypic traits such as ornaments and armaments are generally shaped by sexual selection, which often favors larger and more elaborate males compared to females. But can sexual selection also influence the brain? Previous studies in vertebrates report contradictory results with no consistent pattern between variation in brain structure and the st...
Article
Full-text available
Variation in wavelength sensitivity among subspecies is unknown among vertebrates. The parrot Platycercus elegans has extreme plumage variation between subspecies ranging from pale yellow to crimson which, with differences in background colour and light environment between subspecies, makes it a good candidate for the evolution of within-species di...
Article
Full-text available
Many animals build structures to provide shelter, avoid predation, attract mates or house offspring, but the behaviour and potential cognitive processes involved during building are poorly understood. Great bowerbird (Ptilinorhynchus nuchalis) males build and maintain display courts by placing tens to hundreds of objects in a positive size–distance...
Data
Mean differences between sets of residuals and permutation test probabilities of the differences
Article
Full-text available
AimRump plumage coloration of the Eastern Yellow Robin (Eopsaltria australis), a widespread Australian songbird, varies from bright yellow in the tropical north to olive-green in the temperate south. Here, we test whether colour variation: (1) correlates most strongly with neutral genetic variation and so is best explained by historical processes,...
Article
Full-text available
The appearance of animal colour signals depends jointly upon the ambient light spectrum and the signal's reflectance spectra. Light environment heterogeneity might, therefore, allow individuals to enhance their signal by signalling in an environment that increases signal efficacy. We tested this hypothesis by providing male guppies (Poecilia reticu...
Article
Full-text available
Animal coloration has multiple functions including thermoregulation, camouflage, and social signaling, and the requirements of each function may sometimes conflict. Many terrestrial ectotherms accommodate the multiple functions of color through color change. However, the relative importance of these functions and how color-changing species accommod...
Article
The Orchidaceae is characterised by the repeated evolution of sexual deception, one of the most specialised pollination strategies. In orchids, sexual deception involves long-range pollinator attraction via mimicry of female insect sex pheromones. At close range, visual signals involving colour mimicry, contrast to the background, and exploitation...
Article
Many terrestrial ectotherms are capable of rapid colour change, yet it is unclear how these animals accommodate the multiple functions of colour, particularly camouflage, communication and thermoregulation, especially when functions require very different colours. Thermal benefits of colour change depend on an animal's absorptance of solar energy i...
Article
Full-text available
Rhodopsin is the visual pigment responsible for initiating the phototransduction cascade in vertebrate rod photoreceptors. Although well-characterized in a few model systems, comparative studies of rhodopsin function, particularly for non-mammalian vertebrates are comparatively lacking. Bowerbirds are rare among passerines in possessing a key subst...
Article
Full-text available
The appearance of animal colour signals depends jointly upon the ambient light spectrum and the signal's reflectance spectra. Light environment heterogeneity might, therefore, allow individuals to enhance their signal by signalling in an environment that increases signal efficacy. We tested this hypothesis by providing male guppies (Poecilia reticu...
Article
Full-text available
The advancement of science, as well as scientific careers, depends upon good and clear scientific writing. Science is the most democratic of human endeavours because, in principle, anyone can replicate a scientific discovery. In order for this to continue, writing must be clear enough to be understood well enough to allow replication, either in pri...
Article
Full-text available
The world in color presents a dazzling dimension of phenotypic variation. Biological interest in this variation has burgeoned, due to both increased means for quantifying spectral information and heightened appreciation for how animals view the world differently than humans. Effective study of color traits is challenged by how to best quantify visu...
Article
Full-text available
Shohat-Ophir et al. (1) demonstrate a connection between sexual behaviour and ethanol consumption in male Drosophila flies, and how the neuropeptide F system regulates ethanol preference. Their results are rightly discussed only in a physiological context, but this has facilitated erroneous anthropomorphic interpretations by the media. Here we disc...
Article
Full-text available
Ornamentation of parents poses a high risk for offspring because it reduces cryptic nest defence. Over a century ago, Wallace proposed that sexual dichromatism enhances crypsis of open-nesting females although subsequent studies found that dichromatism per se is not necessarily adaptive. We tested whether reduced female ornamentation in a sexually...
Article
Full-text available
Multicomponent signals are made up of interacting elements that generate a functional signaling unit. The interactions between signal components and their effects on individual fitness are not well understood, and the effect of environment is even less so. It is usually assumed that color patterns appear the same in all light environments and that...
Article
Full-text available
Colour is an important factor in food detection and acquisition by animals using visually based foraging. Colour can be used to identify the suitability of a food source or improve the efficiency of food detection, and can even be linked to mate choice. Food colour preferences are known to exist, but whether these preferences are heritable and how...
Article
Full-text available
There is no conclusive evidence of any nonhuman animal using the sun as part of its predation strategy. Here, we show that the world’s largest predatory fish—the white shark (Carcharodon carcharias)—exploits the sun when approaching baits by positioning the sun directly behind them. On sunny days, sharks reversed their direction of approach along a...
Article
Many animals use extended phenotypes to attract mates, but the availability of suitable resources in the environment can affect the size and form of these signals, with unknown consequences for honest signalling. In some populations of the great bowerbird, Ptilonorhynchus nuchalis, males arrange decorations by size, with smaller decorations placed...