Polar Biology

, Volume 36, Issue 6, pp 831–836 | Cite as

Fecundity and sexual size dimorphism of wolf spiders (Araneae: Lycosidae) along an elevational gradient in the Arctic

  • Joseph J. Bowden
  • Toke T. Høye
  • Christopher M. Buddle
Original Paper


Fecundity and body size are central fitness-related traits, and their intra-specific responses to environmental variation are receiving increasing attention in the context of climate change. Recent results from Greenland indicate that temporal and spatial variation in body size differences between sexes (sexual size dimorphism) may be widespread among wolf spider species and could be related to climate. Here, we tested whether variation in elevation affected body size of three wolf spider (Araneae: Lycosidae) species in low-Arctic Canada, whether the sexes differed in their response to the cline, and whether changes in local density influenced this relationship. We also tested whether fecundity changed with elevation in two of the species, independent of body size variation. We found a significant sex–elevation interaction for Pardosa lapponica: female size decreased more in response to elevation than that of males. Males and females of Pardosa uintana decreased significantly in size with elevation at a similar rate. Alopecosa aculeata males increased in body size along the gradient while females did not. Pardosa lapponica females, but not P. uintana females, showed significant reduction in fecundity in response to elevation. P. uintana showed significant decreases in body size with increases in its population density. Changes in temperature and potential resource availability along the elevational gradient are probably causing these species- and sex-specific responses. Further summer warming of the region may alleviate current constraints on growth and reproduction of these species although sex-specific responses may affect their population dynamics.


Altitudinal gradient Yukon Territory Pardosa Alopecosa Body size 



We would like to thank MW Foellmer for comments made on an early version of this manuscript. We would like to thank the Tetlit Gwitch’n, Nacho Nyak Dun, Vuntut Gwitch’n, Tr’ondëk Hwëch’in Han Nation and the Yukon Territorial Government. The authors would also like to thank Dan Brown for help with collection of specimens in the field. Financial support was provided by the Northern Scientific Training Program, the National Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and McGill University.

Supplementary material

300_2013_1308_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (38 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 37 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Joseph J. Bowden
    • 1
  • Toke T. Høye
    • 2
    • 3
    • 4
  • Christopher M. Buddle
    • 5
  1. 1.Division of Biological SciencesUniversity of California San DiegoLa JollaUSA
  2. 2.Department of BioscienceAarhus UniversityRøndeDenmark
  3. 3.Arctic Research CentreAarhus UniversityAarhus CDenmark
  4. 4.Ecoinformatics and Biodiversity Group, Department of BioscienceAarhus CDenmark
  5. 5.Department of Natural Resource SciencesMcGill UniversitySainte Anne de BellevueCanada

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