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No evidence for the expensive-tissue hypothesis in Fejervarya limnocharis

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image of Animal Biology

Because the brain is one of the energetically most expensive organs of animals, trade-offs have been hypothesized to exert constraints on brain size evolution. The expensive-tissue hypothesis predicts that the cost of a large brain should be compensated by decreasing size of other metabolically costly tissues, such as the gut. Here, we analyzed the relationships between relative brain size and the size of other metabolically costly tissues (i.e., gut, heart, lung, kidney, liver, spleen or limb muscles) among four Fejervarya limnocharis populations to test the predictions of the expensive-tissue hypothesis. We did not find that relative brain size was negatively correlated with relative gut length after controlling for body size, which was inconsistent with the prediction of the expensive-tissue hypothesis. We also did not find negative correlations between relative brain mass and relative size of the other energetically expensive organs. Our findings suggest that the cost of large brains in F. limnocharis cannot be compensated by decreasing size in other metabolically costly tissues.

Affiliations: 1: Key Laboratory of Southwest China Wildlife Resources Conservation (Ministry of Education), China West Normal University, Nanchong, 637009, Sichuan, China

*Corresponding authors; e-mail:;

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