Data from: Evolution of carotenoid pigmentation in caciques and meadowlarks (Icteridae): repeated gains of red plumage coloration by carotenoid C4-oxygenation

Nicholas R. Friedman, Kevin J. McGraw & Kevin E. Omland
Many animals use carotenoid pigments to produce yellow, orange, and red coloration. In birds, at least 10 carotenoid compounds have been documented in red feathers; most of these are produced through metabolic modification of dietary precursor compounds. However, it is poorly understood how lineages have evolved the biochemical mechanisms for producing red coloration. We used high-performance liquid chromatography to identify the carotenoid compounds present in feathers from 15 species across two clades of blackbirds (the...
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