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Getting in shape: adaptation and phylogenetic inertia in morphology of Australian anuran larvae


Van Buskirk, J (2009). Getting in shape: adaptation and phylogenetic inertia in morphology of Australian anuran larvae. Journal of Evolutionary Biology, 22(6):1326-1337.

Abstract

The external morphology of frog larvae is predicted to vary among habitats, for a variety of functional reasons. I performed a phylogenetic comparative study to test whether correlations between habitat and the shape of the tadpole and its oral disc are adaptive in 82 species from south-eastern Australia in the families Hylidae and Myobatrachidae. Habitat distributions and phylogenetic relationships were compiled from the literature and shape was quantified
using geometric morphometric analysis of published drawings. Results indicate that shape evolved towards different optima in different habitats
while also showing appreciable levels of phylogenetic inertia. Within myobatrachids, evolution of terrestrial tadpoles was associated with a short and
shallow head ⁄ body and a shallow tail. In aquatic species, the use of benthic microhabitats was correlated with a long shallow tail, dorsal eye position, shallow head ⁄ body and ventral mouth with robust jaw sheaths. Even traits with evidence for adaptation evolved slowly in response to habitat shifts, usually requiring ‡10 million years to evolve half-way to a new optimum. Although these findings support adaptive evolution of tadpole body form, they
also highlight a strong influence of ancestral character states and indicate that phenotypes in extant species are partly maladaptive.

Abstract

The external morphology of frog larvae is predicted to vary among habitats, for a variety of functional reasons. I performed a phylogenetic comparative study to test whether correlations between habitat and the shape of the tadpole and its oral disc are adaptive in 82 species from south-eastern Australia in the families Hylidae and Myobatrachidae. Habitat distributions and phylogenetic relationships were compiled from the literature and shape was quantified
using geometric morphometric analysis of published drawings. Results indicate that shape evolved towards different optima in different habitats
while also showing appreciable levels of phylogenetic inertia. Within myobatrachids, evolution of terrestrial tadpoles was associated with a short and
shallow head ⁄ body and a shallow tail. In aquatic species, the use of benthic microhabitats was correlated with a long shallow tail, dorsal eye position, shallow head ⁄ body and ventral mouth with robust jaw sheaths. Even traits with evidence for adaptation evolved slowly in response to habitat shifts, usually requiring ‡10 million years to evolve half-way to a new optimum. Although these findings support adaptive evolution of tadpole body form, they
also highlight a strong influence of ancestral character states and indicate that phenotypes in extant species are partly maladaptive.

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15 citations in Web of Science®
16 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:07 Faculty of Science > Institute of Evolutionary Biology and Environmental Studies
Dewey Decimal Classification:570 Life sciences; biology
590 Animals (Zoology)
Uncontrolled Keywords:amphibian; anuran; habitat; Hylidae; maladaptation; morphology; Myobatrachidae; oral disc; tadpole.
Language:English
Date:June 2009
Deposited On:25 May 2009 05:40
Last Modified:05 Apr 2016 13:13
Publisher:Wiley-Blackwell
ISSN:1010-061X
Additional Information:The definitive version is available at www.blackwell-synerg
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1420-9101.2009.01750.x

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