Fluctuating Asymmetry in Ungulates

A special issue of Symmetry (ISSN 2073-8994). This special issue belongs to the section "Life Sciences".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 September 2024 | Viewed by 7209

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Department of Veterinary Medicine, University of Sassari, via Vienna 2, I‐07100 Sassari, Italy
Interests: ecology; conservation biology; wildlife conservation; wildlife ecology; ecology and evolution; conservation behavioral ecology; climate change; biodiversity; biodiversity monitoring

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Guest Editor
Faculty of Tropical AgriSciences, Czech University of Life Sciences Prague, Prague, Czech Republic
Interests: animal behaviour; captive breeding; cervids; husbandry; physiology
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Fluctuating asymmetry (FA) is defined as nondirectional variation between the left and right sides of a bilateral character, and it may arise as a result of an inability to control development in different ecological contexts, showing an individual’s failure to produce a consistent phenotype in a given environment. FA is particularly manifested in physiologically expensive anatomical structures, such as horns and antlers of ungulates, but it has received little attention in terms of its potential impact on production, reproduction, and behavioral parameters.

For this Special Issue, we invite review, theoretical and experimental papers, addressing methodological evaluation and application of fluctuating asymmetry in the understanding of fitness at the individual and population level. We invite studies representing ungulates and encourage the submission of manuscripts that support the use of fluctuating asymmetry as a tool or biomarker for detecting environmental or climatic pressures, the degree of naturalness and anthropization effects. Studies testing FA as an environmental monitoring technique are especially welcome. Methodological issues could include the consideration of multiple traits, measurement accuracy and reliability, problems related to sample size, data collection, data treatment, appropriate statistical analysis and use of software.

This Special Issue, titled “Fluctuating Asymmetry in Ungulates”, aims to continue highlighting these questions in the application of fluctuating asymmetry within ecological and zoological studies.

Submit your paper and select the Journal “Symmetry” and the Special Issue “Fluctuating Asymmetry in Ungulates” via: MDPI submission system. Our papers will be published on a rolling basis and we will be pleased to receive your submission once you have finished it.

Dr. Roberta Chirichella
Dr. Francisco Ceacero
Guest Editors

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Keywords

  • Anthropization Effect
  • Behavioral Parameters
  • Body Characteristics
  • Ecological Context
  • Developmental Instability
  • Environment
  • Fitness
  • Fluctuating Asymmetry
  • Ungulates
  • Stress

Published Papers (3 papers)

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Research

11 pages, 906 KiB  
Article
Fluctuating Asymmetry of Fallow Deer Antlers Is Associated with Weapon Damage but Not Tactical Behaviour during Fights
by Dómhnall J. Jennings and Martin P. Gammell
Symmetry 2023, 15(4), 829; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym15040829 - 29 Mar 2023
Viewed by 3308
Abstract
The horns and antlers borne by the males of many species of ungulate are considered to be both badges of quality, and armaments for use during intraspecific combat. Underpinning arguments concerning their dual utility is the idea that these structures should be costly [...] Read more.
The horns and antlers borne by the males of many species of ungulate are considered to be both badges of quality, and armaments for use during intraspecific combat. Underpinning arguments concerning their dual utility is the idea that these structures should be costly to produce in order that the signal value of the structure is maintained. In agreement with such theorising is the belief that fluctuating asymmetry (FA), small deviations from symmetry around a mean of zero, measures individual quality as it represents the ability of the individual to withstand stress. We investigated whether the antlers of fallow deer indicated something of the quality of the bearer by assessing whether the degree of antler FA was associated with breakage (i.e., badge of quality) or with tactical investment in fighting (i.e., armament). We show the anticipated relationship between FA and antler damage, however, there was no relationship between FA and contest tactics. The present study, therefore, shows partial support for the idea that the magnitude of fluctuating asymmetry expressed by weaponry is related to individual quality. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fluctuating Asymmetry in Ungulates)
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18 pages, 4255 KiB  
Article
A New Method for Quantifying the Asymmetry of Biological Elements by Means of a Photogrammetric Technique Using a Parametric Computer-Aided Design System
by Juan Manuel Montalvo-Gil, Concepción Azorit, José Manuel Valderrama-Zafra and Miguel Ángel Rubio-Paramio
Symmetry 2022, 14(11), 2296; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym14112296 - 2 Nov 2022
Viewed by 1118
Abstract
In the area of zoology, it is of great interest to determine the degree of asymmetry existing in the different animal structures in order to establish it as a variable (biomarker). In this study, a new methodology is proposed for obtaining this variable [...] Read more.
In the area of zoology, it is of great interest to determine the degree of asymmetry existing in the different animal structures in order to establish it as a variable (biomarker). In this study, a new methodology is proposed for obtaining this variable ‘Asymmetry Index’. Forty-eight Iberian red deer antlers (Cervus elaphus hispanicus) from hunting reserves in the province of Jaen (Spain) have been used. The degree of asymmetry of their antlers between homologous points considered in the two right and left sides of each antler was obtained. The methodology is applied within a parametric Computer-Aided Design system from the photogrammetric restitution of the antler from two photographs. The procedure compares the degree of asymmetry in which the points of each of the right and left sides of the antler are found by means of lengths and angles with respect to an established reference plane based on the geometry of the specimen’s skull. As a result of the study, it has been observed that the Asymmetry Index obtained is lower in those specimens that have a high score in their hunting valuation, so it is considered that this factor can be taken into account as an objective and quantifiable indicator (biomarker). Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fluctuating Asymmetry in Ungulates)
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14 pages, 988 KiB  
Article
The Reliability of Fluctuating Asymmetry in Population Estimation: The Case of Feedlot Red Deer
by Krešimir Krapinec, Vlado Jumić, Matija Balekić, Nikola Lolić, Radomir Putnik, Tihomir Florijančić, Siniša Ozimec and Ivica Bošković
Symmetry 2022, 14(10), 2092; https://doi.org/10.3390/sym14102092 - 8 Oct 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1356
Abstract
Three FA indices showed correlations with age and magnitude of traits, but not in general. Significant correlations between magnitude of traits and their FA were more pronounced in AFA (12 traits) than in RFA (10 traits) in all age classes except yearlings. For [...] Read more.
Three FA indices showed correlations with age and magnitude of traits, but not in general. Significant correlations between magnitude of traits and their FA were more pronounced in AFA (12 traits) than in RFA (10 traits) in all age classes except yearlings. For the tray tine form (curvature), FA significantly correlated with its magnitude in young, middle-aged and ripe stags, which indicates that the trait is a reliable indicator of asymmetry. Significant differences in AFA among age classes were found in four traits (weight of dry antlers, volume of antlers, distal circumference of beams and total length of crown tines). By RFA, a significant difference among age classes was only found for the distal circumference of beams. Thus, AFA is a more vulnerable condition index. Contrary to other research findings, developmental instability was more pronounced in older age classes. In yearlings, no significant FA dependence on the trait of antler size was detected, but in certain traits, an asymmetry detected at an early age remains visible later as well, although in stags grown under relatively optimal (especially trophic) environment conditions, developmental instability was present anyway. This proposes two hypotheses for further research: Competition may be manifested even under controlled conditions, which might jeopardize the developmental stability of certain individuals, or some traits will show developmental instability regardless of relatively good environmental conditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Fluctuating Asymmetry in Ungulates)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Fluctuating asymmetry in gazelles: heritability and relationship with inbreeding
Authors: Jorge Cassinello
Affiliation: Estación Experimental de Zonas Áridas (EEZA-CSIC), Almería, Spain

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