Propositions for standardized measuring and description of lorises and pottos
Some general remarks concerning measuring, description and labelling
Measuring equipment recommended:
measurements down to 1 mm by direct reading with a ruler or with dividers, measurements down to 0.1 mm with vernier or dial calipers (Ansell, 1965).
For wild animals, capture and handling for scientific examination is certainly a traumatic experience which may well endanger the animals´s health, cause stillbirths in pregnant females or increase the threat to fall victim to predators after release. Groves (2002 in press) recommends to anesthetize animals before measuring. For information about anesthesia in lorises see anesthesia chapter in the disease database; here, the short information may be sufficient that, while anesthesia suppresses sensory stimuli and tranquilizers at least calm down the animals, paralytic drugs (muscle relaxants) only paralyze tha animal. Ryder, 1978, after trying the effects of such drugs on himself; regards muscle-relaxing drugs paralyzing without diminishing consciousness as inhumane, causing terror and trauma in the animal.
Recommendation to measure both
sides of an animal:
Lateral differences for instance of limb measurements have been found (B. Meier, pers. comm.; Seth 1969). In forms in which only few animals are available for examination, it might therefore be good to increase sample size by measuring both left and right limbs and other bilaterally occurring parts of the body in each animal (according to Swindler, 1976, in teeth there is no noticeable difference between right and left side; Schwartz and Beutel, 1995, however, recorded bilaterally different tooth measurements). In addition, comparison of individual size and asymmetry with the average values of the population may allow some conclusions concerning heterozygosity: in a diversity of species, relatively heterozygous individuals were found to have reduced fluctuating asymmetry and reduced morphological variation, suggesting a relationship beween heterozygosity and developmental stability. Individuals with extreme values for a morphological character whose variation is largely due to additive genetic variation will tend to be homozygous at the loci that influence the trait; they are also expected to be more asymmetric than those with central values. Relationship between extremity of measurements and asymmetry is highly dependant on how strongly variation of the morphological character in question is controlled by additive genetic variation and how many loci are involved. If the number of loci is large, then extremeness may provide a good estimate of genomic heterozygosity (Allendorf, Leary 1986).
See also information about asymmetry
and variation within populations.
Comparability of measurements:
Comparability of measurements is usually limited by the following problems:
in general to 1 mm; in very small mammals, an accuracy to 0.1 mm would be necessary for instance for hindfoot length, but usually such exactness cannot be achieved when different or unexperienced observers are involved (Ansell, 1965).
Necessary additional data concerning described animals / labelling of collected samples, according to Ansell (1965):
1) Dates ought to be unmistakeable
(confusion of months and days impossible, include the century). The following
dates ought to be noted:
date of death of the animal,
in case of captive care of wildcaught animals: in addition the date of capture / removal from natural habitat;
when necessary: date of preparation (for instance skin made up from an alcohol or formalin specimen).
2) Origin: locality traceable on maps: latitude and longitude; in addition place name (not only names of minor features unlikely to be on published maps)
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Loris and potto database
Draft for a measuring standard Last amendment: 9 May 2001
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