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Body size variation of four latitudinally-separated populations of a toad species: age and growth rate as the proximate determinants.

Authors
  • Yu, Tonglei
  • Lu, Xin
Type
Published Article
Journal
Integrative zoology
Publication Date
Sep 01, 2013
Volume
8
Issue
3
Pages
315–323
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1111/j.1749-4877.2012.00294.x
PMID: 24020470
Source
Medline
Keywords
License
Unknown

Abstract

Age and growth rate are critical parameters determining the body size of adult anurans, which grow indeterminately. Therefore, evaluating their relative importance and selective pressures acting on them may help to explain variation in body size of anurans across geographical populations. Based on the data on body size and skeletochronological age of 4 Asiatic toad (Bufo gargarizans) populations that are widely separated in latitude, the present study showed that toads at the northern extremity of the range were the oldest, on average, and grew relatively fast, toads at the southern end of the range were relatively old but grew fastest, whereas mid-latitude toads were intermediate in both traits. These results indicated that relative contributions of age and growth rate to body size differed among populations. From a life history perspective, greater age attained by toads at higher latitudes should result from delayed maturation, and faster growth from an adaptive response to strong seasonal time constraints; in contrast, selective pressures on the 2 parameters at lower latitudes might be associated, respectively, with low adult death rates and longer favorable growing seasons.

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