In anurans, fecundity (clutch size) is the most important determinant of female reproductive success. We investigated three possible causes responsible for fecundity variation in female Italian treefrogs, Hyla intermedia, during four breeding seasons: (i) variation in morphological (body size and condition) and life-history (age) traits, (ii) variation in the tradeoff between the number and the size of eggs; (iii) seasonal effects and within-season differences in the timing of deposition. At the population level, we found no evidence for a tradeoff between the number and the size of eggs, because they both correlated positively with females’ body size. Conversely, neither age nor post-spawning body condition showed any effect on female reproductive investment. Independent of body size, we found no evidence for variation in reproductive effort among different breeding seasons, but strong evidence for a decrease of clutch size and an increase of egg size with the advancing of a breeding season. To test for the functional significance of the observed temporal variation in allocation strategy, we carried out a rearing experiment in semi-natural conditions on a random sample of ten clutches. The experiment showed a negative effect of clutch size and a positive effect of egg size on both tadpole growth and developmental rates, suggesting that reproductive investment, although constrained by body size, can be adjusted by females to the timing of deposition to increase offspring survival.

Factors affecting variation in the reproductive investment of female treefrogs. Hyla intermedia

CADEDDU, GIORGIA;CASTELLANO, Sergio
2012-01-01

Abstract

In anurans, fecundity (clutch size) is the most important determinant of female reproductive success. We investigated three possible causes responsible for fecundity variation in female Italian treefrogs, Hyla intermedia, during four breeding seasons: (i) variation in morphological (body size and condition) and life-history (age) traits, (ii) variation in the tradeoff between the number and the size of eggs; (iii) seasonal effects and within-season differences in the timing of deposition. At the population level, we found no evidence for a tradeoff between the number and the size of eggs, because they both correlated positively with females’ body size. Conversely, neither age nor post-spawning body condition showed any effect on female reproductive investment. Independent of body size, we found no evidence for variation in reproductive effort among different breeding seasons, but strong evidence for a decrease of clutch size and an increase of egg size with the advancing of a breeding season. To test for the functional significance of the observed temporal variation in allocation strategy, we carried out a rearing experiment in semi-natural conditions on a random sample of ten clutches. The experiment showed a negative effect of clutch size and a positive effect of egg size on both tadpole growth and developmental rates, suggesting that reproductive investment, although constrained by body size, can be adjusted by females to the timing of deposition to increase offspring survival.
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Hyla, egg size, clutch size; life history, breeding seasons
Cadeddu G.; Castellano S.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2318/100614
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