SUMMARY: The purpose of the present study is to define which regions of the cranium, the upper-face, the orbits and the nasal are the most sexually dimorphic, by using three-dimensional geometric morphometric methods, and investigate the effectiveness of this method in determining sex from the shape of these regions. The study sample consisted of 176 crania of known sex (94 males, 82 females) belonging to individuals who lived in Greece during the 20(th) century. The three-dimensional co-ordinates of 31 ecto-cranial landmarks were digitized using a MicroScribe 3DX contact digitizer. Goodall's F-test was performed in order to compare statistical differences in shape between males and females. Generalized Procrustes Analysis (GPA) was used to obtain size and shape variables for statistical analysis. Shape, Size and Form analyses were carried out by logistic regression and discriminant function analysis. The results indicate that there are shape differences between the sexes in the upper-face and the orbits. The highest shape classification rate was obtained from the upper-face region. The centroid size of the caraniofacial and the orbital regions was smaller in females than males. Moreover, it was found that size is significant for sexual dimorphism in the upper-face region. As anticipated, the classification accuracy improves when both size and shape are combined. The findings presented here constitute a firm basis upon which further research can be conducted.
The ability of vertebrates to evolve different defence strategies in response to varying parasitism regimes remains poorly understood. Hosts may adopt two different strategies to defend themselves against parasites: tolerance (hosts alleviate the negative fitness consequences of parasite infection) and resistance (hosts strengthen their immune response as parasite burden increases). Both strategies are effective, but fitness has been reported to decline faster in less-tolerant individuals. Here, we assessed the number of splenocytes and the cell-mediated response (proxies for resistance) and body condition (a proxy for tolerance) in four populations of a Greek endemic lizard (Podarcis gaigeae), each exposed to different infection risks (defined as the cumulative effect of parasite burden and duration of exposure). We anticipated that populations with heavy parasite burden would enhance the efficacy of their immune response (resistance) compared to lizards deriving from parasite-poor habitats. We also predicted that populations with longer exposure to parasites would be adopted and be more tolerant. Each factor (duration of exposure and parasite burden) had a distinct effect on the immune response, and thus, our results were rather complicated. Lizards with heavy parasite burden and aperiodic exposure demonstrated resistance, whereas lizards with heavy parasite burden and chronic exposure were more tolerant. Populations with low parasite burden and minimal exposure were more resistant. Our results suggest that the development of some immunological strategies may be differentiated under different infection risks, even within the same species.
The aim of this study is to assess sexual dimorphism of adult crania in the vault and midsagittal curve of the vault using three-dimensional geometric morphometric methods. The study sample consisted of 176 crania of known sex (94 males, 82 females) belonging to individuals who lived during the 20th century in Greece. The three-dimensional co-ordinates of 31 ecto-cranial landmarks and 30 semi-landmarks were digitized using a MicroScribe 3DX contact digitizer. Generalized Procrustes analysis (GPA) was used to obtain size and shape variables for statistical analysis. Shape, size and form analyses were carried out by logistic regression and three discriminant function analyses. Results indicate that there are shape differences between sexes. Females in the region of the parietal bones are narrower and the axis forming the frontal and occipital bones is more elongated; the frontal bone is more vertical. Sex-specific shape differences give better classification results in the vault (79%) compared with the midsagittal curve of the neurocranium (68.8%). Size alone yielded better results for cranial vault (82%), while for the midsagittal curve of the vault the result is poorer (68.1%). As anticipated, the classification accuracy improves when both size and shape are combined (89.2% for vault, and 79.4% for midsagittal curve of the vault). These latter findings imply that, in contrast to the midsagittal curve of the neurocranium, the shape of the cranial vault can be used as an indicator of sex in the modern Greek population.
PURPOSE: During the last three decades, the number of devices that emit non-ionizing electromagnetic radiation (EMR) at the wireless communication spectrum has rapidly increased and possible effects on living organisms have become a major concern. The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of radiofrequency EMR emitted by a widely used wireless communication device, namely the Digital Enhanced Communication Telephony (DECT) base, on the immune responses of the Aegean wall lizard (Podarcis erhardii).
MATERIALS AND METHODS: Adult male lizards were exposed 24 h/day for 8 weeks to 1880-1900 MHz DECT base radiation at average electric field intensity of 3.2 V/m. Immune reactivity was assessed using the phytohemagglutinin (PHA) skin swelling and mixed lymphocyte reaction (MLR) tests.
RESULTS: Our results revealed a noticeable suppression (approximately 45%) of inflammatory responses in EMR-exposed lizards compared to sham-exposed animals. T cell-mediated responses were marginally affected.
CONCLUSION: Daily radiofrequency EMR exposure seems to affect, at least partially, the immunocompetence of the Aegean wall lizard.
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