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Does relatedness influence the intensity of competition in Bufo gargarizans minshanicus tadpoles?

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Kin selection theory predicts that mechanisms should evolve to reduce kin competition when this maximizes inclusive fitness. In this study, we tested these predictions by investigating the effects of relatedness on fitness-related metamorphic traits (e.g., length of larval period, size at metamorphosis, body condition and survival rate). We did this in a laboratory experiment by exposing individuals of Bufo gargarizans minshanicus to competition with full-sibling or non-sibling larvae. Although tadpoles seemed to grow slightly better in environments when their competition consisted of full-siblings than when their competitors consisted of non-siblings, these effects of relatedness on the growth and development were not significant. Therefore, we suggest that interference competition may be equally intense in in full-sibling and non-sibling groups.

Affiliations: 1: 1Department of Biology, College of Life Science, Xinyang Normal University, SD 464000, China ; 2: 2College of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Maryland, USA

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