The importance of carotenoids for natural colouration, in relation to other classes of pigments and structural colours, has been outlined in
. But colour only has significance if it is perceived, identified and interpreted by other organisms (animals). In other words, colour is a means of communication, a signal. Now, in this Chapter, this new direction for carotenoid research, behavioural ecology, is highlighted. Various hypotheses that have been proposed to explain the signal functions of colour, and particularly of carotenoids, in plants and animals are discussed and the empirical evidence to support these hypotheses is presented.
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