Pattern of sexual size dimorphism supports the inverse of Rensch’s rule in two frog species

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Rensch’s rule describes that sexual size dimorphism (SSD) increases with body size (hyperallometry) when males are larger, and decreases with body size (hypoallometry) when males are smaller. In this paper, on the basis of mean adult body size resulting from 18 populations of the common frog Rana temporaria and 24 populations of the Tibetan frog Nanorana parkeri, we tested the consistency of allometric relationships between males and females with Rensch’s rule. Our results show that the variation in degree of female-biased SSD increased with increasing mean size at intraspecific levels in two species, which is consistent with the inverse of Rensch’s rule. Furthermore, we tested the hypothesis that the degree of SSD decreased with increasing altitudes. Inconsistent with the predications of our hypothesis, we found no relationships between the degree of SSD and altitude for the two species investigated. These findings suggest that females living in adverse climates in high altitudes cannot adjust their body size as plastically as males.



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  • Allometric relationship of sexual size dimorphism in (A) Nanorana parkeri (N=24 populations) and (B) Rana temporaria (N=18 populations). Linear regression lines (A: slope = 0.486 ± SE 0.083, 95% CI = 0.314-0.657, r=0.782, P<0.001) (B: slope = 0.838 ± SE 0.031, 95% CI = 0.771-0.905, r=0.987, P<0.001) with 95% confidence interval (thin lines) are shown. The thick lines represent isometry, i.e., slope = 1. Each black dot represents a single population based on its mean.

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