| EPIGENETIC DENTAL ASYMMETRY OF ISRAELI HARES: DEVELOPMENTAL STABILITY ALONG AN ENVIRONMENTAL GRADIENT |
FRANZ SUCHENTRUNK A1
A1 Research Institute of Wildlife Ecology, Vienna Veterinary University, Savoyenstrasse 1, A-1160 Vienna, Austria
Bilateral fluctuating asymmetry of minor epigenetic dental characters was studied in 134 hares (Lepus sp.) from Israel to estimate levels of developmental homeostasis along a steep ecological gradient over short geographic distance. Overall fluctuating asymmetry and asymmetry of particular teeth or tooth groups were generally low in magnitude, and were not significantly correlated with rainfall or temperature data when tested separately in northern and southern Israeli hares. Also, fluctuating asymmetry did not vary significantly among three specified regions (N-Israel, Beer Sheva region, S-Israel). However, in northern Israeli hares, fluctuating asymmetry of the first lower premolar (P3), a tooth of quite complex structure, tended to increase with hotter and drier climate. A tendency towards increased overall fluctuating asymmetry was also found in the Beer Sheva region, central Israel, which was considered earlier by some authors as a possible contact/overlap zone of two distinct gene pools of northern and southern Israeli hares.
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