Mating pattern, female reproduction and sexual size dimorphism in a narrow-mouthed frog (Microhyla fissipes)

in Animal Biology
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The difference in body size and/or shape between males and females, called sexual size dimorphism, is widely accepted as the evolutionary consequence of the difference between reproductive roles. To study the mating pattern, female reproduction and sexual size dimorphism in a population of Microhyla fissipes, amplexus pairs were collected, and the snout-vent length of males and females, female reproductive traits and fertilization rate were measured. If the body size of amplexed females is larger than that of amplectant males, this is referred to as a female-larger pair, a phenomenon that was often observed for M. fissipes in this study. Interestingly, snout-vent length of males in male-larger pairs was greater than that in female-larger pairs, however the post-spawning body mass, clutch size, egg dry mass and clutch dry mass did not differ between both types of pairs. Snout-vent length of males was positively related to that of females in each amplexus pair. After accounting for the snout-vent lengths of females, we showed that snout-vent lengths of males in male-larger pairs were greater than those of females in female-larger pairs. The snout-vent length ratio of males and females was not related to fertilization rate in each amplexus pair. The mean fertilization rate was not different between both amplexus pairs. These results suggest that (1) M. fissipes displays female-biased sexual size dimorphism and has two amplexus types with size-assortative mating; (2) the snout-vent length ratio of males and females in each amplexus type was consistent with the inverse of Rensch’s rule, and was driven by the combined effect of sexual selection and fecundity selection; (3) females with a larger body size were preferred by males due to their higher fecundity, while the body size of males was not important for fertilization success.

Mating pattern, female reproduction and sexual size dimorphism in a narrow-mouthed frog (Microhyla fissipes)

in Animal Biology



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    Descriptive statistics, expressed as means ± 1 SE and range, for male snout-vent length (SVL), fertilization rate and female reproductive traits. Results of G-test (for number of amplexus pairs between male-larger pairs and female-larger pairs) and one-way ANOVAs (for SVL, fertilization rate and residuals of post-spawning body mass, clutch size, egg dry mass and clutch dry mass against female SVL) are given in the table. MLP: male-larger pairs, FLP: female-larger pairs.

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    The relationship between the snout-vent lengths of amplectant male and female frogs in M. fissipes. All data were log10-transformed. Regression lines were adjusted for two pairs with a common slope (0.69) to facilitate comparisons. The dotted line represent the assuming slope = 1. Solid dots and the solid line represent male-larger pairs, open dots and the dashed line represent female-larger pairs.

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    The relationship of post-spawning body mass (A), clutch size (B), egg dry mass (C), clutch dry mass (D) with female SVL in M. fissipes. Female SVLs were log10-transformed. Regression equations and coefficients are given in the figure. Solid dots represent male-larger pairs, open dots represent female-larger pairs.

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