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Symmetry 2010, 2(2), 1099-1107; doi:10.3390/sym2021099

Fluctuating Asymmetry in Flies, What Does It Mean?

Biology Department, University of Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK
Received: 23 February 2010 / Revised: 11 May 2010 / Accepted: 27 May 2010 / Published: 4 June 2010
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Feature Papers: Symmetry Concepts and Applications)
Download PDF [951 KB, 10 June 2010; original version 4 June 2010]

Abstract

The degree of departure from perfect symmetry in organisms, fluctuating asymmetry (FA), is seen in most populations of animals. It has particular impact on choice of mate which lies within the world of sexual selection. Here I consider a relatively little studied aspect of sexual selection, i.e. the effect of FA on contests between males for mates, based not on display ornament but rather on agility seen in the mating systems of many insects. The model organism considered is the ubiquitous chironomid midge. In these flies, mating takes place in the air, so symmetry in the length of wings bears directly on a male’s aerobatic ability on which successful mating depends. The role of parasites and predators in creating and responding to FA in the host/prey midge is considered.
Keywords: biomechanics; chironomid midges; fluctuating asymmetry; mating flight; parasites; predators; sexual selection biomechanics; chironomid midges; fluctuating asymmetry; mating flight; parasites; predators; sexual selection
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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McLachlan, A.J. Fluctuating Asymmetry in Flies, What Does It Mean? Symmetry 2010, 2, 1099-1107.

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