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Evolution of sexual dimorphism in the forelimb muscles of Andrew's toad (Bufo andrewsi) in response to putative sexual selection

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Sexual differences in morphological traits are widespread among animals. Theory predicts that dimorphism in secondary sexual characters evolves as a consequence of sexual selection. We investigated the intersexual difference in mass of forelimb muscles of the Andrew's toad, Bufo andrewsi, an elongated species inhabiting montane regions in western China. Our results showed that average body size of females was significantly larger than males. However, when the influence of body size was removed, the forelimb muscle mass of males significantly exceeded that of females, and total mass of forelimb muscles of amplectant males was significantly larger than that of non-amplectant males. These results suggest that the robustness of the forelimbs can allow amplectant males to retain a firm grip on the female in amplexus, which may aid resistance to inference by conspecific males. Our findings are consistent with the prediction that sexual selection favors large forelimb muscle mass in males.

Affiliations: 1: Key Laboratory of Southwest China Wildlife Resources Conservation, Ministry of Education, China West Normal University, Nanchong, 637009, P. R. China;, Email:; 2: Ecology and Environmental Technology Key Laboratory of Sichuan Province, Mianyang Normal University, Mianyang, 621000, P. R. China; 3: Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia, Athens, GA, 30602-2152, USA


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