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Sexual size dimorphism in relation to age and growth based on skeletochronological analysis in a Tibetan frog

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image of Amphibia-Reptilia

The number of lines of arrested growth (LAGs) in diaphyseal cross-sections of phalanges or femora was used to assess individual age and growth of 612 Nanorana parkeri, including 363 males, 143 females, 70 juveniles, and 36 tadpoles, in a population from central Tibet, China. The oldest immature frogs had an age of 6 years; both the youngest sexually mature males and females were 3 years old. However, the majority of individuals bred for the first time at 5 years in males and 6 years in females. Females had greater average age (6.27 years) and lifespan (11 years) than males (5.72 and 10 years). At the population level, females, on average, were significantly larger in body length (40.3 mm) than males (37.0 mm). However, the significant size difference only occurred when both sexes were over 6 years old, at which most frogs attained maturity. Growth curve and growth rate estimated for each sex based on a von Bertalanffy model showed that females had a larger asymptotic size (54.2 mm) but smaller growth coefficient k (0.16) than males (40.0 mm, 0.37), and that females had greater growth rate than males in all age classes, except at metamorphosis. According to these results, we concluded that the sexual difference of growth between pre- and post-maturation periods contributed to the age-specific sexual size dimorphism of N. parkeri.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Zoology, College of Life Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China; 2: Department of Zoology, College of Life Sciences, Wuhan University, Wuhan 430072, China;, Email:


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