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Dwarfs or giants? Sexual size dimorphism in Chondracanthidae (Copepoda, Poecilostomatoida)

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Sexual size dimorphism in the Chondracanthidae is very marked: we investigate whether it is a consequence of dwarfing of males or females becoming giants. Plotting male size against female size indicates that the relationship is allometric, i.e., showing a trend towards increasing sexual size dimorphism. This is supported by the results of an analysis of sexual size dimorphism against morphological distance, although not significant when phylogeny is controlled for. It appears that both sexes are driving the sexual size dimorphism, and chondracanthid females are probably selected for high fecundity leading to large body size, whereas males are probably selected for small size. Le dimorphisme sexuel concernant la taille chez les Chondracanthidae est très marqué : nous avons recherché si ce dimorphisme s'expliquait par des mâles devenant nains ou des femelles devenant géantes. La comparaison de la taille du mâle par rapport à celle de la femelle indique que leur relation est allométrique, montrant une tendance vers l'augmentation du dimorphisme sexuel de la taille. Ceci est soutenu par les résultats de l'analyse du dimorphisme sexuel de la taille par rapport à la distance morphologique, bien que non significatifs quand on considère la phylogénie. Il apparaît que les deux sexes sont impliqués dans l'acquisition du dimorphisme sexuel relatif à la taille ; la sélection chez les Chondracanthidae femelles en vue d'une fécondité élevée a abouti à une grande taille du corps, tandis que chez les mâles, la sélection a probablement conduit vers une petite taille.


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