Animal Asymmetry

Rate this resource

Produced in 1976 by the Institute of Biology as part of its Studies in Biology series, this booklet studies animals which are not symmetrical - those which cannot be mirror-imaged along their mid-line. The asymmetry may be behavioural as well as structural and this is emphasised when looking at symmetrical animals of the same species. This topic links to the subjects of adaptation and evolution, animal behaviour and animal physiology.

1. Molecular asymmetry
Looking at molecular asymmetry in living organisms

2. Types of asymmetry in organisms

3. Examples of structural asymmetry
A number of examples of asymmetry, including asymmetry in fish, birds, humans, insects, bacteria and other animals.

4. Asymmetry of skeletal fibres
Looking at the eyes of vertbrates, geodesic spirals and their functions, and helicoidal structures.

5. Asymmetry in development
How asymmetry develops, for example in the spiral cleavage in gastropods, in snail eggs, bed bugs, labiopedia in insects and gut asymmetry in amphibia and fish monsters.

6. Asymmetry in behaviour
Examples of how asymmetry presents in arthropds, molluscs, owls, marine mammals, human brains, and the functional uses of asymmetry.

7. How is asymmetry achieved?
Bias, differentiation, genetics and asymmetry and cell gradients.

Show health and safety information

Please be aware that resources have been published on the website in the form that they were originally supplied. This means that procedures reflect general practice and standards applicable at the time resources were produced and cannot be assumed to be acceptable today. Website users are fully responsible for ensuring that any activity, including practical work, which they carry out is in accordance with current regulations related to health and safety and that an appropriate risk assessment has been carried out.

Show downloads

Published by


Share this resource