Format

Send to

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Am Nat. 2007 Feb;169(2):245-57. Epub 2006 Dec 20.

Proximate causes of Rensch's rule: does sexual size dimorphism in arthropods result from sex differences in development time?

Author information

1
Zoologisches Museum, Universität Zürich-Irchel, Winterthurerstrasse 190, CH-8057 Zürich, Switzerland. wolfman@zoolmus.unizh.ch

Abstract

A prominent interspecific pattern of sexual size dimorphism (SSD) is Rensch's rule, according to which male body size is more variable or evolutionarily divergent than female body size. Assuming equal growth rates of males and females, SSD would be entirely mediated, and Rensch's rule proximately caused, by sexual differences in development times, or sexual bimaturism (SBM), with the larger sex developing for a proportionately longer time. Only a subset of the seven arthropod groups investigated in this study exhibits Rensch's rule. Furthermore, we found only a weak positive relationship between SSD and SBM overall, suggesting that growth rate differences between the sexes are more important than development time differences in proximately mediating SSD in a wide but by no means comprehensive range of arthropod taxa. Except when protandry is of selective advantage (as in many butterflies, Hymenoptera, and spiders), male development time was equal to (in water striders and beetles) or even longer than (in drosophilid and sepsid flies) that of females. Because all taxa show female-biased SSD, this implies faster growth of females in general, a pattern markedly different from that of primates and birds (analyzed here for comparison). We discuss three potential explanations for this pattern based on life-history trade-offs and sexual selection.

PMID:
17211807
DOI:
10.1086/510597
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

0 comments
How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Full text links

    Icon for University of Chicago Press
    Loading ...
    Support Center