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Eur. J. Entomol. 2002, 99(4): 405-412
Effects of temperature and genetic stress on life history and fluctuating wing asymmetry in Culex pipiens mosquitoes
MPHO M., CALLAGHAN A. & HOLLOWAY G.J.*
Fluctuating asymmetry (FA) of bilaterally symmetrical organisms has been introduced as a promising indicator of environmental stress. Stress factors reported to contribute to developmental stability include inbreeding and the presence of resistance genes. In the current study we examined the effect of stress derived from high developmental temperatures, resistance genes and low genetic variation on life history variables and wing FA in Culex pipiens mosquitoes. Three strains were compared: two inbred laboratory strains sharing a similar genetic background but differing in that one strain contained organophosphate (OP) resistance genes, and a third strain that was an outbred OP resistant field strain recently collected from India. There were no strong and general trends that suggested that the OP resistant lab strain was less fit than the OP susceptible strain, although there were some specific among strain differences for some treatments. Fluctuating asymmetry (FA) of wing traits was higher in the laboratory strains than the field strain, suggesting that inbreeding may cause elevated FA in the study species. There was no evidence that the resistance genes were associated with increased wing FA. Wing FA increased with increasing developmental temperature in females, but the association was less strong in males. There was a significant difference between the sexes in this respect. The results are discussed with reference to the value of FA as a biomonitor of environmental stress.
AddressDivision of Zoology, School of Animal & Microbial Sciences, The University of Reading, Whiteknights, PO Box 228, Reading RG6 6AJ, UK; e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
KeywordsFluctuating asymmetry, inbreeding, organophosphate resistance, environmental stress, Culex pipiens, biomonitor