Morphological determinants of jumping performance in the Iberian green frog
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AuthorMoreno Rueda, Gregorio; Abelardo, Requena Blanco; Zamora Camacho, Francisco J.; Comas, Mar; Pascual, Guillem
OXFORD UNIV PRESS
Body massFluctuating asymmetryHind limb lengthHind limb widthLocomotor performanceMorphometry
Moreno-Rueda, G., Requena-Blanco, A., Zamora-Camacho, F. J., Comas, M., & Pascual, G. (2020). Morphological determinants of jumping performance in the Iberian green frog. Current zoology, 66(4), 417-424.[doi: 10.1093/cz/zoz062]
Predation is one of the main selective forces in nature, frequently selecting potential prey for developing escape strategies. Escape ability is typically influenced by several morphological parameters, such as morphology of the locomotor appendices, muscular capacity, body mass, or fluctuating asymmetry, and may differ between sexes and age classes. In this study, we tested the relationship among these variables and jumping performance in 712 Iberian green frogs Pelophylax perezi from an urban population. The results suggest that the main determinant of jumping capacity was body size (explaining 48% of variance). Larger frogs jumped farther, but jumping performance reached an asymptote for the largest frogs. Once controlled by structural body size, the heaviest frogs jumped shorter distances, suggesting a trade-off between fat storage and jumping performance. Relative hind limb length also determined a small but significant percentage of variance (2.4%) in jumping performance—that is, the longer the hind limbs, the greater the jumping capacity. Juveniles had relatively shorter and less muscular hind limbs than adults (for a given body size), and their jumping performance was poorer. In our study population, the hind limbs of the frogs were very symmetrical, and we found no effect of fluctuating asymmetry on jumping performance. Therefore, our study provides evidence that jumping performance in frogs is not only affected by body size, but also by body mass and hind limb length, and differ between age classes.