The functional approach at the level of physiological functional groups (PFGs) reflecting two types of ontogeny was used to analyze spleen hypertrophy in five species of rodents. In addition to a wide variation of spleen weight, its hypertrophy was observed: in bank voles (Clethrionomys glareolus), the spleen weight was as great as 3.5 g versus the “normal” value of 100–150 mg. The variation range of the relative spleen weight was estimated. For example, in the dominant species, C. glareolus, this range was considerable (from 2 to 125‰). A distinct relationship with the types of animal ontogeny was revealed. The genus specificity of the phenomenon—its occurrence in three species of Clethrionomys voles and absence in Microtus voles and mice—was determined in the study region. The animals with normal and hypertrophied spleens did not differ from each other significantly in their vital activity (at least, with respect to the parameters studied). The voles with hypertrophied spleens normally reproduced, and the hypertrophy was asymptomatic. These findings suggest that the populations have adapted to a damaging factor (or factors) in the course of a prolonged coevolution. This parameter is regarded as the indicator of the presence of a damaging factor in the population.
Russian Journal of Ecology – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 7, 2004
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