Article

Adaptive wing asymmetry in males of the speckled wood butterfly (Pararge aegeria)?

Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (Impact Factor: 5.68). 05/2013; 266:1413-1418. DOI: 10.1098/rspb.1999.0795
Source: PubMed Central

ABSTRACT We analysed asymmetry in the wings of the speckled wood butterfly (Pararge aegeria)by measuring area, length and width of fore- and hindwings. The type of asymmetry is fluctuating except for fore- and hindwing area, and forewing width in males, where asymmetry is directional. The amount of asymmetry (variance of the left wing minus the right wing) is less in males than in females. Within males asymmetry was directional and less in pale, predominantly territorial males than in melanic, predominantly non-territorial males. Asymmetry was negatively related to growth rate within females, but not within males. Females grew faster than males, but had higher asymmetry, whereas the more asymmetrical melanic males grew more slowly than pale males. The differences in the type and amount of asymmetry between the sexes and colour classes suggest a relationship with sex-specific flight patterns such as the territorial spiralling flight of males. We hypothesize that slightly asymmetrical males turn faster, and therefore are superior in territorial disputes over more symmetrical or extremely asymmetrical males. This implies that sexual selection via male–male competition influences the type and amount of asymmetry. The existence of more extremely asymmetrical individuals in females, and to a lesser extent in non-territorial males, may indicate that there are costs in reducing asymmetry.

1 Bookmark
 · 
142 Views
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Directional asymmetry (DA), where at the population level symmetry differs from zero, has been reported in a wide range of traits and taxa, even for traits in which symmetry is expected to be the target of selection such as limbs or wings. In invertebrates, DA has been suggested to be non-adaptive. In vertebrates, there has been a wealth of research linking morphological asymmetry to behavioural lateralisation. On the other hand, the prenatal expression of DA and evidences for quantitative genetic variation for asymmetry may suggest it is not solely induced by differences in mechanic loading between sides. We estimate quantitative genetic variation of fetal limb asymmetry in a large dataset of rabbits. Our results showed a low but highly significant level of DA that is partially under genetic control for all traits, with forelimbs displaying higher levels of asymmetry. Genetic correlations were positive within limbs, but negative across bones of fore and hind limbs. Environmental correlations were positive for all, but smaller across fore and hind limbs. We discuss our results in light of the existence and maintenance of DA in locomotory traits.
    PLoS ONE 01/2013; 8(10):e76358. · 3.73 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Subtle left-right biases are often observed in organisms with an overall bilateral symmetry. The evolutionary significance of these directional asymmetries remains uncertain, however, and scenarios of both developmental constraints and adaptation have been suggested. Reviewing the literature on asymmetry in insect wings, we analyze patterns of directional asymmetry in wing size to evaluate the possible adaptive significance of this character. We found that directional asymmetry in wing size is widespread among insects, with left- and right-biased asymmetries commonly observed. The direction of the asymmetry does not appear to be evolutionarily conserved above the species level. Overall, we argue that the very small magnitude of directional asymmetry, 0.7% of the wing size on average, associated with an extremely imprecise expression, precludes directional asymmetry from playing any major adaptive role.
    Evolution 09/2008; 62(11):2855-67. · 4.86 Impact Factor
  • Source
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Slight departures from bilateral symmetry are usually associated with reduced fitness. Here we show that an insular freshwater population of Gasterosteus aculeatus exhibits spatial and temporal segregation according to the incidence and direction of asymmetry in the number of bony lateral plates, which are important predator-defense structures. We analyzed 11,263 fish collected from 19 full lake transects over three years, and found that signed asymmetries for plate number were slightly left-side biased. Asymmetries occurred in 55% of the stickleback with more asymmetrics found during cold weather, and more left-biased individuals found during windy conditions, possibly due to environmentally driven activity levels that differ among asymmetric forms. Absolute plate asymmetries were randomly distributed in the lake, but there was a strong shift in signed plate asymmetry from a mean of zero in littoral zones to left-side bias in limnetic zones, probably due to microhabitat choices among asymmetric forms. Video data of avian piscivores on the lake show laterality in prey handling, providing a potential mechanism for asymmetric prey morphology. Our results imply a complex relationship between slight asymmetries and niche space that is relevant to the broader literature on the evolutionary implications of developmental instability and intrapopulation variability.
    Evolution 10/2008; 63(1):115-26. · 4.86 Impact Factor

Full-text (2 Sources)

View
32 Downloads
Available from
Jun 4, 2014