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Digestive tract length is positively correlated with altitude across Fejervarya limnocharis populations

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image of Animal Biology

In animals, the amount of nutrients acquired through foraging and the proportion of metabolisable energy gained is reflected in the digestive tract length. This digestion theory predicts that the consumption of food with high content of indigestible material will lead to increased gut dimensions. Here, we analyzed geographic variation in digestive tract length related to diet among 14 Fejervarya limnocharis populations to test the digestion theory. Relative digestive tract length significantly differed between males and females and among populations. The relative length of the digestive tract increased with altitude. We also found a positive correlation between the proportion of plant material and digestive tract length for both sexes, which is consistent with the prediction of the digestion theory. Our findings suggest that variation in temperature associated with altitude affects food composition, and, thereby ultimately gut morphology of individuals.

Affiliations: 1: 1College of Wildlife Resources, Northeast Forestry University, Hexing Road 26, Harbin 150040, China ; 2: 2College of Life Science and Agriculture Forestry, Qiqihar University, Wenhua Street 42, Qiqihar 161006, China ; 3: 3Micangshan Nature Reserve, Wangcang, 628200, Sichuan, China ; 4: 4Key Laboratory of Southwest China, Wildlife Resources Conservation (Ministry of Education), China West Normal University, Nanchong 637009, China

*Corresponding author; e-mail:;

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