AMPHIBIAN ASYMMETRY, A USEFUL TOOL TO ASSESS ENVIRONMENTAL QUALITY

Carmen I Burghelea, Dragos Zaharescu, Antonio Palanca

Abstract


This study aimed to determine the morphological stress experienced by Rana perezi, an anuran endemic to the Iberian Peninsula, in an agricultural landscape with different levels of management impact, by using the fluctuating asymmetry (FA) of its skeleton. Tibio-fibula, a highly functional trait, had the lowest FA level, whereas radio-ulna was the most asymmetric. This indicates that traits under directional selection are more prone to reflect stress than the functionally important ones. Metatarsus and radio-ulna were less able to cope with the stress in rice fields than in reservoirs. In ontogeny FA level decreased towards the adult stage suggesting that the mechanism of developmental stability buffered against the stress. In conclusion metatarsal and radio-ulna asymmetry of R. perezi juveniles can be used to assess environmental disturbances in agricultural landscapes.


Keywords


Rana perezi; fluctuating asymmetry; agricultural landscape; environmental stress

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DOI: 10.6092/issn.2281-4485/3807

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