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Variation in somatic condition and testis mass in Feirana quadranus along an altitudinal gradient

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image of Animal Biology

The competition for fertilization among sperm from different males can drive variation in male reproductive investments. However, the mechanisms shaping reproductive allocation and the resulting variations in reproductive investment relative to environmental variables such as resource availability and male-male competition remain poorly known in frogs. Here, we investigated inter-population variation in male somatic condition and testis mass across four populations of the swelled vent frog Feirana quadranus along an altitudinal gradient. We found that relative testis mass did not increase with altitude, which was inconsistent with previous predictions that an increase in latitude and/or altitude should result in decreased sperm production in anurans due to shortened breeding seasons and the decline in resource availability. We also found no increase in somatic condition and male/female operational sex ratio with altitude. However, the somatic condition exhibited a positive correlation with testis mass, which indicated the condition-dependent testis size in F. quadranus. Moreover, an increase of testis mass with increasing male/female operational sex ratio suggest that male-male competition can result in an increased intensity of sperm competition, thereby increasing testis mass.

Affiliations: 1: 1Key Laboratory of Southwest China Wildlife Resources Conservation (Ministry of Education), China West Normal University, Nanchong, 637009, Sichuan, China ; 2: 2Institute of Eco-adaptation in Amphibians and Reptiles, China West Normal University, Nanchong, 637009, Sichuan, China ; 3: 3Science and Technology Department of Sichuan Province, Chengdu, 610000, Sichuan, China

*Corresponding author; e-mail:;

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