1062-3604/03/3401- $25.00 © 2003
Russian Journal of Developmental Biology, Vol. 34, No. 1, 2003, pp. 51–56. Translated from Ontogenez, Vol. 34, No. 1, 2003, pp. 61–66.
Original Russian Text Copyright © 2003 by Muzlanov.
The population method of biomonitoring based on
the analysis of morphological variability in natural pop-
ulations (Yablokov, 1980, 1987; Zakharov and
Yablokov, 1985; Yablokov and Yusufov, 1998) has been
recently intensively developed. This method tradition-
ally includes the analysis of developmental stability
according to the level of ﬂuctuating asymmetry of bilat-
eral structures and number of the defects that can be
considered as consequences of development distur-
bance (Zakharov, 1987; Zakharov and Clarke, 1993).
The accessibility of this method of biomonitoring
makes is very promising for wide use, which is espe-
cially important for solution of the current problems of
biodiversity conservation. These studies acquire a spe-
cial role with reference to the development of the con-
cept of environmental health: the environment not only
must provide the humanity with necessary resources,
but must also be healthy to provide the long-term exist-
ence of the living nature and man (Zakharov, 2000;
In this study, an attempt has been undertaken to ana-
lyze in detail the pattern of distribution of defects in the
form of cross veins in the wing of the banded agrion
Harr.) over a long period
MATERIALS AND METHODS
Studies were carried out on the banded agrion
dragon-ﬂies occurring in the lower Ranova River ﬂow
(Kurbatovo, Korablinskii Region, Ryazan’ District).
The dragon-ﬂies of this species develop for two years.
The materials were collected in the ﬁrst half of July
(1992–1995, 1998, 2000) and in the beginning of
August (1996, 1999) with the help of schoolchildren
during the expeditions organized by the Society for
Advancement of Natural Science Education. The
dragon-ﬂies were caught in ﬁve regions of the river
bank, where the dragon-ﬂies of this species emerged.
The samples were taken: Styshnaya where the
Ranova River meets the Pronya River; Ranova-1 in
5 km upstream; Tserkov’ in 4 km upstream, near the
bridge across the Ranova River in Kurbatovo; Ranova-
3 was separated from the previous sample by a 500 m
region of river bank devoid of bank plants; Ranova-2
was separated from Ranova-3 by a similar region of
river bank, up to 300 m wide, where a colony of sand
L.) was located. No colonies
of dragon-ﬂies of this species were found upstream the
Ranova for more than 30 km.
Dragon-ﬂies were caught by a hand net, ﬁxed in a
special device and bases of all four wings were photo-
graphed by a Zenit-ET camera with a Gelios 44m-7
objective and special rings. The caught dragon-ﬂies
The Pattern of Distribution of Defects of Wing Venation
in the Banded Agrion (
Yu. A. Muzlanov
Zarevskii Secondary School, Zarya, Mikhailovskii raion, Ryazan oblast, 391728 Russia
Received August 23, 2000; in ﬁnal form, April 4, 2002
—The distribution of morphological structures was studied in wings of the banded agrion (
Harr.) from different intrapopulation groups. Dragon ﬂies of odd years of emergence are character-
ized by a more stable pattern of ontogenetic processes according to the mean total number of venation defects.
The sharply increased level of radiation in summer 1986, which coincided with the ﬂight of dragon-ﬂies, could
have caused hereditary defects expressed in a sequence of generations of even years of emergence. Apparently,
most alternative features of wing venation in dragon-ﬂies can be considered as markers of stability of the onto-
genetic processes, which reﬂect, to a great extent, genotypic features of the organisms in a population. A pos-
sible mechanism has been described, which explains the proposed topological model of formation of the vena-
tion defects of different types. The increase in mean frequencies of defects can suggest an enhanced develop-
ment over the aberrant epigenetic trajectories, which may lead to the elimination of these organisms under the
inﬂuence of various agents, i.e., to the stabilizing selection in a population. The results obtained suggest that
defects of venation arise on the stochastic basis and their frequency increases upon destabilization of ontoge-
netic processes not only by the environmental factors, but also by genetic stress. Venation defects can be suc-
cessfully used in population biomonitoring.
Harr., developmental defects; genetic load, wing venation, banded agrion,
population biomonitoring, stabilizing selection, subpopulations of dragon-ﬂies, epigenetic trajectories.