, Volume 108, Issue 4, pp 596-598

Increased fluctuating asymmetry in the damselfly Coenagrion puella is correlated with ectoparasitic water mites: implications for fluctuating asymmetry theory

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The influence of ectoparasitic water mite larvae (Arrenurus) on the fluctuating asymmetry (FA) of forewing length and cell number in the foreweings of the damselfly Coenagrion puella has been investigated. We show a significant correlation between the FA of forewing length and the mite load. Most explanations for increases in FA implicate environmental stress combined with the inability of the genome to stabilize the phenotype. In contrast, our results demonstrate that FA could be the result of a very short-term impact during ontogenesis, due to chance parasitism.