Microevolution and maternal effects on tadpole Rana temporaria growth and development rate

  • Loman J
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Can variation in egg size explain the local variation in tadpole growth and development of the common frog Rana temporaria or are other mechanisms, e.g. microevolution, involved? To study this, tadpoles were raised in outdoor tanks, Each tank housed tadpoles from one clutch. Eggs were collected during 2 years from six different ponds and their sizes were measured. Large eggs gave rise to tadpoles that grew and developed faster than those hatched from small eggs. Tadpoles from large eggs thus metamorphosed earlier but. because they grew for a shorter time, size at metamorphosis was not affected by initial egg size. Tadpoles from different ponds differed in strategy: after correcting for egg size effects, tadpoles from some ponds tended to metamorphose earlier and at a larger size than those from others. These ponds occasionally dry out during or before the tadpoles' period of metamorphosis. I argue that the detected pond differences are genetically based and represent a case of microevolution.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Amphibians
  • Drying ponds
  • Egg size
  • Frogs
  • Metamorphosis
  • Rana temporaria

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  • Jon Loman

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