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The relationship among egg size, density and food level on larval development in the wood frog (Rana sylvatica)

Summary

Although inter- and intraspecific variation in egg size among amphibians has been well documented, the relationship between egg size and fitness remains unclear. Recent attempts to correlate egg size intraspecifically with larval developmental patterns have been equivocal. In this study the development of larvae derived from large eggs and small eggs, from a single population in Maryland were compared under a range of food levels and larval population densities. Both food level and density had significant effects on the length of the larval period and size at metamorphosis. However, the response among larvae derived from different egg sizes was not additive. At low densities and high food levels, larvae from small eggs had longer larval periods and a larger size at metamorphosis than larvae derived from large eggs. In contrast, at high densities larvae from small eggs had longer developmental periods but were smaller at metamorphosis than larvae from large eggs. In addition, larvae from small eggs were more sensitive to density irrespective of food level. These results suggest that optimal egg size is correlated with environmental factors, which may explain the maintenance of both geographic and within population variation in egg size commonly observed in amphibians.

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Berven, K.A., Chadra, B.G. The relationship among egg size, density and food level on larval development in the wood frog (Rana sylvatica). Oecologia 75, 67–72 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00378815

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00378815

Key words

  • Rana sylvatica
  • Egg size
  • Development
  • Density
  • Food level