Biological invasions provide a unique opportunity to gain insight into basic biological processes occurring under new circumstances. During the process of establishment, exotic species are exposed to various stressors which may affect their development. Presence of the stressors is often detected by measurements of left–right body asymmetry, which consists of two main components: fluctuating asymmetry and directional asymmetry. Fluctuating asymmetry constitutes random differences between the two body sides, whereas directional asymmetry occurs when a particular trait is bigger on one of the sides. The relation between these two asymmetry components is still not fully understood. Our goal was to investigate the potential differences in asymmetry patterns between native and invasive populations of Tetropium fuscum (Fabr. 1787) (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae), a harmful forest pest native to Europe and introduced to North America. Wing asymmetry assessment was based on the geometric morphometrics of hind wings. We found that specimens from invaded area were markedly smaller and have more asymmetric wings than individuals from native population, suggesting some unfavorable conditions in the invaded area. Moreover, we found significant directional asymmetry in the native but not in the invasive population. On the other hand, differences between left and right hind wings were similar in the native and invasive populations, in terms of direction. This suggests that a high level of fluctuating asymmetry in the invasive population may blur the intrinsic directional asymmetry and hinder its detection. Our data show that fluctuating asymmetry has a potential as an indicator of developmental stress in invasive species.
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Vol. 47 • No. 4