Fluctuating asymmetry and fitness correlations in two Engraulis encrasicolus populations
Correlations among several measures of fluctuating asymmetry (FA) and fitness-related variables were assessed in two populations of the European anchovy Engraulis encrasicolus with fast growth (Aegean Sea) and slow growth (Ionian Sea), respectively. FA levels were borderline significantly higher in the Ionian than in the Aegean for some variables. Variation in otolith shape (deviation from population norm) was lower in the Ionian than the Aegean, contrary to expectation. Within the Aegean, there was no relation between any of the FA indexes and fitness estimators, while in the Ionian a composite otolith FA index was significantly negatively correlated to standard length at age only in 2 year-old individuals. This difference between the Aegean and Ionian may have been related to the lower growth rate in the Ionian, as FA–fitness relations may be more apparent in less-beneficial environments. The absence of significant correlations in the Aegean and the low correlation in one age group in the Ionian suggests that FA is not a sensitive indicator of individual fitness in adult E. encrasicolus.
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