Evolutionary Ecology

, Volume 21, Issue 4, pp 445–458

Trade-offs across life stages: does predator–induced hatching plasticity reduce anuran post-metamorphic performance?



In species with complex life cycles hatching plasticity can provide an effective escape from egg predators, but theoretical studies predict a predation-risk trade-off across egg and larval stages. In this study, we examine whether the presence of an egg predator can alter the timing of hatching in an anuran, Rana temporaria, and the consequences of hatching plasticity after transition to the terrestrial habitat. Predator cues induced earlier hatching, and hatchlings were smaller, less developed and had relatively shorter and deeper tails than control hatchlings. The predator–induced differences in developmental time were compensated throughout the larval period; there was no predator effect on metamorph age or size. Surprisingly, the effects of egg predators were perceptible after metamorphosis. Juveniles emerging from the predator and the no-predator treatments differed in several size-adjusted morphological dimensions. Seemingly these morphological differences were not large enough to give rise to suboptimal growth or locomotor performance after metamorphosis. Thus, our results suggest only a short-term effect on juvenile phenotype, but not a trade-off between hatching time and juvenile performance.


Chemical cues Inducible defences Jumping performance Ontogenetic tradeoff Rana temporaria 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, Inc. 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Ecology Unit, Department of Biology of Organisms and SystemsUniversity of OviedoOviedoSpain

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