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Altitude underlies variation in the mating system, somatic condition and investment in reproductive traits in male Asian grass frogs (Fejervarya limnocharis)


Jin, Long; Yang, Sheng Nan; Liao, Wen Bo; Lüpold, Stefan (2016). Altitude underlies variation in the mating system, somatic condition and investment in reproductive traits in male Asian grass frogs (Fejervarya limnocharis). Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, 70(8):1197-1208.

Abstract

There is substantial comparative and growing experimental evidence that the competition for fertilization among sperm from different males can drive variation in male reproductive investments. However, less is known about the extent of nat- ural variation in these investments relative to environmental variables affecting resource availability and mating system dynamics, which would allow insights into the mechanisms shaping reproductive allocation. Here, we studied interpopulation variation in male investments in testis size and sperm length across 25 populations of the Asian grass frog Fejervarya limnocharis along a 1550-km latitudinal and 1403-m altitudinal transect in China.We found relative testis mass and sperm length, male somatic condition, and the male/female sex ratio to increase with elevation but not lati- tude or longitude. Our results suggest that environmental var- iation may underlie local adaptations to reproductive invest- ments among natural populations, mediated by differences in the availability of both resources and sexual partners (including the resulting male–male competition). These findings con- trast with previous predictions that increasing latitude and/or elevation should lead to declining reproductive investments in male anurans due to shortening breeding seasons, declining resource availability, and lowering (rather than increasing) male/female sex ratios. We discuss these species differences in the context of differential resource allocation strategies, breeding ecology, and patterns of male–male competition. These differences show the need for future work on reproductive investments in anurans beyond the few model systems and for potential extension of the theoretical framework to species with different mating systems and strategies.

Abstract

There is substantial comparative and growing experimental evidence that the competition for fertilization among sperm from different males can drive variation in male reproductive investments. However, less is known about the extent of nat- ural variation in these investments relative to environmental variables affecting resource availability and mating system dynamics, which would allow insights into the mechanisms shaping reproductive allocation. Here, we studied interpopulation variation in male investments in testis size and sperm length across 25 populations of the Asian grass frog Fejervarya limnocharis along a 1550-km latitudinal and 1403-m altitudinal transect in China.We found relative testis mass and sperm length, male somatic condition, and the male/female sex ratio to increase with elevation but not lati- tude or longitude. Our results suggest that environmental var- iation may underlie local adaptations to reproductive invest- ments among natural populations, mediated by differences in the availability of both resources and sexual partners (including the resulting male–male competition). These findings con- trast with previous predictions that increasing latitude and/or elevation should lead to declining reproductive investments in male anurans due to shortening breeding seasons, declining resource availability, and lowering (rather than increasing) male/female sex ratios. We discuss these species differences in the context of differential resource allocation strategies, breeding ecology, and patterns of male–male competition. These differences show the need for future work on reproductive investments in anurans beyond the few model systems and for potential extension of the theoretical framework to species with different mating systems and strategies.

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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)
Language:English
Date:30 April 2016
Deposited On:06 May 2016 17:57
Last Modified:08 Dec 2017 19:28
Publisher:Springer
ISSN:0340-5443
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1007/s00265-016-2128-9
Official URL:http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00265-016-2128-9

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