, Volume 137, Issue 4, pp 541–546 | Cite as

Growth or reproduction? Resource allocation by female frogs Rana temporaria

Population Ecology


The decision how to allocate marginal resources to reproduction and growth can have important effects on associated life-history parameters as well as on population dynamics. In addition to showing variation among individuals in a population, such allocation rules may be either condition-dependent or fixed in different individuals. While many studies on anuran amphibians have focused on egg numbers and egg sizes in females of different sizes, virtually no data exist on the relative allocation of marginal resources to growth versus reproduction. In the laboratory, we therefore offered female common frogs (Rana temporaria) low versus high food rations for a full reproductive cycle, and monitored their growth and later reproductive investment (egg number and egg size the following breeding season). Feeding rates had an effect both on female growth and on egg number and size. There was no trade-off found between the two forms of investment. A flexible allocation rule could not be supported as there was no significant effect of feeding rate on the relative allocation of resources to growth versus reproduction.


Acquisition Anurans Clutch size Egg size Feeding 


  1. Bernardo J (1996) The particular maternal effect of propagule size, especially egg size: patterns models, quality of evidence and interpretations. Am Zool 36:216–236Google Scholar
  2. Berven KA (1988) Factors affecting variation in reproductive traits within a population of wood frogs Rana sylvatica. Copeia 1988:605–615Google Scholar
  3. Bonnet X, Bradshaw D, Shine R (1998) Capital versus income breeding: an ectothermic perspecive. Oikos 83:333–342Google Scholar
  4. Brown GP, Shine R (2002) Reproductive ecology of a tropical natricine snake, Tropidonophis mairii (Colubridae). J Zool 258:63–72CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Caley MJ, Schwarzkopf L, Shine R (2001) Does total reproductive effort evolve independently of offspring size? Evolution 55:1245–1248PubMedGoogle Scholar
  6. Cichon M (1997) Evolution of longevity through optimal resource allocation. Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 264:1383–1388CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Cummins CP (1986) Temporal and spatial variation in egg size and fecundity in Rana temporaria. J Anim Ecol 55:303–316Google Scholar
  8. Doughty P, Shine R (1997) Detecting life history trade-offs: measuring energy stores in “capital” breeders reveal costs of reproduction. Oecologia 110:508–513CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Doughty P, Shine R (1998) Reproductive energy allocation and long-term energy stores in a viviparous lizard (Eulamprus tympanus). Ecology 79:1073–1083Google Scholar
  10. Edwards A, Jones SM, Wapstra E (2002) Multiennial reproduction in females of a viviparous, temperate-zone skink, Tiliqua nigrolutea. Herpetologica 58:407–414Google Scholar
  11. Gebhardt-Henrich SG, Heeb P, Richner H, Tripet F (1998) Does loss of mass during breeding correlate with reprouctive success? A study on blue tits Parus caeruleus. Ibis 140:210–213Google Scholar
  12. Gelder JJ van (1995) Reproductive effort in Bufo bufo. Sci Herpetol 1995:176–179Google Scholar
  13. Gibbons MM, McCarthy TK (1986) The reproductive output of frogs Rana temporaria (L.) with particular reference to body size and age. J Zool 209:579–593Google Scholar
  14. Girish S, Saidapur SK (2000) Interrelationship between food availability, fat body, and ovarian cycles in the frog, Rana tigrina, with a discussion of the role of fat body in anuran reproduction. J Exp Zool 286:487–493CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  15. Grafen A (1988) On the uses of data on lifetime reproductive success. pp 454–471. In: Clutton-Brock TH (ed) Reproductive success. Studies of individual variation in contrasting breeding systems. University of Chicago Press, ChicagoGoogle Scholar
  16. Grossman GD, McDaniel K, Ratajczak RE Jr (2002) Demographic characteristics of female mottled sculpin, Cottus bairdi, in the Coweeta Creek drainage, North Carolina. Environ Biol Fish 63:299–308CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Heino M, Kaitala V (1999) Evolution of resource allocation between growth and reproduction in animals with indeterminate growth. J Evol Biol 12:423–429CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Hönig J (1966) Über Eizahlen von Rana temporaria. Salamandra 2:70–72Google Scholar
  19. Ito K (1997) Egg-size and -number variations related to maternal size and age, and the relationship between egg size and larval characteristics in an annual marine gastropod, Haloa japonica (Opsithobrancia; Cephalaspidea). Mar Ecol Prog Ser 152:187–195Google Scholar
  20. Ji X, Braña F (2000) Among clutch variation in reproductive output and egg size in the wall lizards (Podarcis muralis) from a lowland population of northern Spain. J Herpetol 34:54–60Google Scholar
  21. Jokela J (1997) Optimal energy allocation tactics and indeterminate growth: Life history evolution of long-lived bivalves. In: Streit T, Städler T, Lively CM (eds) Evolutionary ecology of freshwater animals: concepts and case studies. Birkhäuser, Basel, pp179–196Google Scholar
  22. Jokela J, Mutikainen P (1995) Phenotypic plasticity and priority rules for energy allocation in a freshwater clam: a field experiment. Oecologia 104:122–132Google Scholar
  23. Joly P (1991) Variation in size and fecundity between neighbouring populations in the common frog Rana temporaria. Alytes 9:79–88Google Scholar
  24. Jönsson KI (1997) Capital and income breeding as alternative tactics of resource use in reproduction. Oikos 78:57–66Google Scholar
  25. Jörgensen CB (1981) Ovarian cycles in a temperate zone frog, Rana temporaria, with special reference to factors determining number and size of eggs. J Zool 195:449–458Google Scholar
  26. Kaplan RH (1998) Maternal effects, developmental plasticity, and life history evolution. In: Mousseau TA, Fox CW (eds) Maternal effects as adaptations. Oxford University Press, Oxford, pp 244–260Google Scholar
  27. Koslowska M (1971) Differences in the reproductive biology of mountain and lowland common frogs, Rana temporaria L. Acta Biol Cracov 14:17–32Google Scholar
  28. Kozlowski J (1991) Optimal energy allocation models—an alternative to the concepts of reproductive effort and cost of reproduction. Acta Oecol 12:11–33Google Scholar
  29. Kozlowski J (1996) Optimal allocation of resources explains interspecific life-history patterns in animals with indeterminate growth. Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 263:559–566Google Scholar
  30. Kyriakopoulos-Sklavounou P, Loumbourdis N (1990) Annual ovarian cycle in the frog, Rana ridibunda, in northern Greece. J Herpetol 24:185–191Google Scholar
  31. Lardner B (2000) Phenotypic plasticity and local adaptation in tadpoles. PhD Dissertation, Lund University, Lund, SwedenGoogle Scholar
  32. Loman J (1978) Growth of brown frogs Rana arvalis and Rana temporaria in south Sweden. Ekol Pol 269:287–296Google Scholar
  33. Loman J (1990) Frog density and distribution in a heterogeneous landscape—a modelling approach. Ekológiia 9:353–360Google Scholar
  34. Loman J (2001) Local variation in Rana temporaria egg and clutch size—adaptions to pond drying. Alytes 19:45–52Google Scholar
  35. Loman J, Claesson D (2003) Plastic response to pond drying in tadpoles Rana temporaria: tests of cost models. Evol Ecol Res 5:179–194Google Scholar
  36. Noordwijk AJ van, de Jong G (1986) Acquisition and allocation of resources: their influence and variation in life history tactics. Am Nat 128:137–142CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Parker GA, Begon M (1986) Optimal eggsize and clutch size: effects of environment and maternal phenotype. Am Nat 128:573–592CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Resetarits WJ Jr, Aldridge RD (1988) Reproductive biology of a cave-associated population of the frog Rana palustris. Can J Zool 66:329–333Google Scholar
  39. Reyer H-U, Frei G, Som C (1999) Cryptic female choice: frogs reduce clutch size when amplexed by undesired males. Proc R Soc Lond B Biol Sci 266:2101–2107CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  40. Reznick D (1983) The structure of guppy life histories: the tradeoff between growth and reproduction. Ecology 64:862–873Google Scholar
  41. Roff DA (1992) The evolution of life histories. Theory and analysis. Chapman and Hall, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  42. Ryser J (1989) Weight loss, reproductive output, and the cost of reproduction in the common frog, Rana temporaria. Oecologia 78:264–268Google Scholar
  43. Ryser J (1996) Comparative life histories of a low- and a high-elevation population of the common frog Rana temporaria. Amphibia-Reptilia 17:183–195Google Scholar
  44. Schaffer WM (1974) Selection for optimal life histories: the effects of age structure. Ecology 55:291–303Google Scholar
  45. Schneider JM, Lubin Y (1997) Does high adult mortality explain semelparity in the spider Stegodyphus lineatus (Eresidae)? Oikos 79:92–100Google Scholar
  46. Schwarzkopf L (1993) Cost of reproduction in water skinks. Ecology 74:1970–1982Google Scholar
  47. Seymour RS (1973) Energy metabolism of dormant spadefoot toads (Scaphiopus). Copeia 1973:435–445Google Scholar
  48. Smith CC, Fretwell SD (1974) The optimal balance between size and number of offspring. Am Nat 108:499–506CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. Stearns SC (1992) The evolution of life histories. Oxford University Press, OxfordGoogle Scholar
  50. Tejedo M (1992a) Absense of trade-off between the size and number of offspring in the natterjack toad (Bufo calamita). Oecologia 90:294–296Google Scholar
  51. Tejedo M (1992b) Effects of body size and timing of reproduction on reproductive success in female natterjack toads (Bufo calamita). J Zool Lond 228:545–555Google Scholar
  52. Winkler DW, Wallin K (1987) Offspring and number: a life history model linking effort per offspring and total effort. Am Nat 129:708–720CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Worley AC, Houle D, Barrett SCH (2003) Consequences of hierarchial allocation for the evolution of life-history traits. Am Nat 161:153–167CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Animal EcologyLund University LundSweden

Personalised recommendations