Measures of body size and body condition in the black-striped mouse (Apodemus agrarius) as indicators of chronically disturbed environment.
Miroslava V. Velickovic, .Institute for Biological Research "Sinisa Stankovic", 29. Novembre 142, 11060 Belgrade, Serbia and Montenegro
In the present study, an additional combination of assays was applied in order to detect and evaluate effects of the industrial development on natural population of small mammals, previously estimated using cytogenetic and morphometric assays. The study tested the hypothesis that mice from an industrial (polluted) zone (Pancevo) would have reduced body size and they would have poorer body condition than animals from an unpolluted reference area (Cer). To test this hypothesis, body weight (BW) and body length (BL) were used as indexes of body size. Besides, the index of body condition (BCI) presented a measure of body condition. Obtained results showed that pollution-exposed mice had reduced body size parameters in comparison with none-exposed Apodemus agrarius mice. The data also indicated that mice from reference area presented better body condition than mice from polluted one, as revealed by significantly higher value of BCI. Furthermore, the same trend was observed in adult mice, compared with juveniles. Adults, from investigated localities, presented better body conditions than juveniles. Finally, results obtained from previous as well as from the present study showed that, in spite of high ability of A. agrarius to tolerate contaminants, this may be an important species for environmental quality monitoring.