Evolutionary Biology

, Volume 40, Issue 3, pp 408–419 | Cite as

Intraspecific Sexual Size and Shape Dimorphism in an Australian Freshwater Fish Differs with Respect to a Biogeographic Barrier and Latitude

  • Clint D. Kelly
  • Kaila E. Folinsbee
  • Dean C. Adams
  • Michael D. Jennions
Research Article


Geographically structured variation in morphology is a common phenomenon in animals with environmental factors covarying with both latitude and biogeographic barriers having profound impacts on body size and shape. The Pacific blue-eye (Pseudomugil signifer) is a freshwater fish that lives along Australia’s east coast and occurs on either side of a terrestrial barrier, the Burdekin Gap. By quantifying the size and shape of males and females from 10 populations we found that Pacific blue-eyes are not sexually size dimorphism north of the Burdekin Gap whereas the degree of dimorphism was dependent upon latitude south of the barrier. Rensch’s rule was not supported as the degree of male-biased size dimorphism did not increase with increasing population mean body size. Body shape was related to body size and was sexually dimorphic south of the Burdekin Gap but not north of it. Our study represents a rare case of identifying how both body size and shape differ with respect to latitude and a major terrestrial biogeographic barrier and lends further support to the notion that P. signifer may comprise two species, or incipient species, that are separated by the Burdekin Gap.


Body shape Body size Sexual selection Rensch’s rule Bergmann’s rule 



We thank Mark McGrouther (Ichthyology, Collection Manager) for access to preserved P. signifer at the Australian Museum and Hugh Spencer (Cape Tribulation Tropical Research Station) for advice and hospitality and two anonymous referees for their valuable input. Fish were collected under a Queensland General Fisheries Permit. This work was supported by an A.N.U. Faculty of Science Research Grant and Iowa State University faculty start-up funds to CDK.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Clint D. Kelly
    • 1
    • 2
  • Kaila E. Folinsbee
    • 3
  • Dean C. Adams
    • 2
  • Michael D. Jennions
    • 1
  1. 1.Research School of BiologyAustralian National UniversityCanberraAustralia
  2. 2.Department of Ecology, Evolution and Organismal BiologyIowa State UniversityAmesUSA
  3. 3.Department of AnthropologyIowa State UniversityAmesUSA

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