Wetlands Ecology and Management

, Volume 27, Issue 4, pp 571–580 | Cite as

Leaf herbivory and fluctuating asymmetry as indicators of mangrove stress

  • Yurixhi Maldonado-López
  • Marcela Sofía Vaca-Sánchez
  • Armando Canché-Delgado
  • Silvia Ecaterina García-Jaín
  • Antonio González-Rodríguez
  • Tatiana Cornelissen
  • Pablo Cuevas-ReyesEmail author
Original Paper


Fluctuating asymmetry (FA), a widely used measure of developmental instability in plants and animals, which describes random differences in size and/or shape between the two sides of a bilateral character. We used FA as a tool to detect stress in three mangrove species (Avicennia germinans, Laguncularia racemosa, Rhizophora mangle), growing in both disturbed and conserved habitats in the Atlantic coast of Mexico. In this region, disturbed habitats are the result of deforestation, livestock, tourism and agriculture activities. Twenty plants of each species were sampled in each of four sites (two disturbed and two conserved) and levels of FA, proportion of individuals with herbivory, proportion of leaves with damage, and leaf area removed by herbivores were evaluated. In disturbed habitats, regardless of plant species, more plants were attacked by insects, more leaves were damaged, and more leaf area was removed by herbivores, indicating higher overall damage to plants. We detected that FA levels varied significantly amongst mangrove species, they were higher in disturbed compared to conserved habitats, indicating the importance of FA as a monitoring tool of mangrove stress. A positive relationship between FA and herbivory levels also indicates that herbivores might be a source of stress.


Fluctuating asymmetry Habitat disturbance Herbivory Mangroves 



Pablo Cuevas-Reyes thanks Coordinación de la Investigación Científica, UMSNH for their generous support. Cornelissen acknowledges CNPq for funding (307210/2016-2).


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Yurixhi Maldonado-López
    • 1
  • Marcela Sofía Vaca-Sánchez
    • 2
  • Armando Canché-Delgado
    • 2
  • Silvia Ecaterina García-Jaín
    • 2
  • Antonio González-Rodríguez
    • 3
  • Tatiana Cornelissen
    • 4
  • Pablo Cuevas-Reyes
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.CÁTEDRAS CONACYT-Instituto de Investigaciones sobre los Recursos NaturalesUniversidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de HidalgoNueva EsperanzaMexico
  2. 2.Facultad de BiologíaUniversidad Michoacana de San Nicolás de HidalgoMoreliaMexico
  3. 3.Instituto de Investigaciones en Ecosistemas y SustentabilidadUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMoreliaMexico
  4. 4.Department of Natural Sciences, Laboratory of Insect EcologyCampus Dom Bosco, Universidade Federal de São João Del ReiSão João Del ReiBrazil

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