general info about Theriologia Ukrainica

Theriologia Ukrainica
(former Proceedings of the Theriological School)

ISSN 2616-7379 (print) ISSN 2617-1120 (online)

2019 Vol. 18 Contents of volume >>>

download pdfZizda, Yu. 2019. Spectral analysis of the fur of different colour phases of Sciurus vulgaris: evidence for adaptive colouration. Theriologia Ukrainica, 18: 4851.



Spectral analysis of the fur of different colour phases of Sciurus vulgaris: evidence for adaptive colouration


Yulia Zizda


Uzhhorod National University, Zoological museum (Uzhhorod, Ukraine)


Theriologia Ukrainica. 2019. Vol. 18: 4851.




English, with Ukrainian summary, titles of tables, captures to figs


Red squirrel (Sciurus vulgaris L.) is one of the most variable mammals in fur color, allowing to distinguish up to 40 subspecies within one species. Two color forms of squirrel common in Ukraine are presented in this paper. The aim was to describe the color form of squirrels using spectral analysis and to show the researching results through the digital ratios of the fur pigmentation (melanin, keratin). The diffuse reflection of light dependence on fur samples was measured for that including after separation of pigments from it with standard chemical methods usage, alkali and NaOH in various concentrations. Samples of dark specimens (black, dark brown squirrel) from the Uzhgorod National University zoological museum and light specimens (orange, red squirrel) from the Lviv National University named I. Franko Zoological Museum were taken for researching. A total of 30 individuals were investigated. According to the light reflection rules and its differentiation into colors, it was expected to obtain distribution curves in the range from 400 to 560800 nm. In light colored forms, the start of the rise of the diffusion reflection curve was expected at 560 nm, in red at 610 nm. With the fur darkening, the increase in diffusion reflection should approach the infrared region of 800 nm. According to the measurement results, the reflection spectra for the dark individuals reflected less deviation of the right side of the curve than the spectra for most red squirrels. However, among the black samples, orange samples with similar deviations of the right side spectrum were observed. Unambiguous distribution of different color forms of squirrel by the intensity of color was not observed. The same time influencing of different pigments on dark-coloring of the squirrel's forms are obvious. It can be indicative of the adaptive nature of color in the different color forms.


squirrel, color form, spectral analysis, color coat variability.



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updated: 14.12.2019

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