Effects of mercury uptake on fluctuating asymmetry and behavior in the terrestrial isopod Armadillidium vulgare
Flaute, Carol Jean Myers
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Fluctuating asymmetry (FA) is an indicator of developmental instability. In this study, young terrestrial isopods (Armadillidium vulgare (Brandt 1833)) were exposed to food contaminated with HgCl2. After 12 weeks of exposure, FA was measured by comparing the number of compound eye ommatidia on the left and right sides of the head. In addition, to provide an ecologically relevant endpoint for comparison with FA data, four locomotory behavior traits (total distance traveled, proportion of time spent in motion, rate of travel while in motion, and proportion of time away from arena edge) were measured using video analysis of individual behavior trials. FA increased with increasing Hg concentration. While no statistically significant differences in behavioral traits were observed, total distance traveled appeared to increase with increasing Hg concentration.