Title

Ontogeny and sex alter the effect of predation on body shape in a livebearing fish: sexual dimorphism, parallelism, and costs of reproduction

Keywords

age, Brachyrhaphis rhabdophora, environmental differences, geometric morphometrics, maturation, morphology, livebearer, physical burden

Abstract

Predation can cause morphological divergence among populations, while ontogeny and sex often determine much of morphological diversity among individuals. We used geometric morphometrics to characterize body shape in the livebearing fish Brachyrhaphis rhabdophora to test for interactions between these three major shape-determining factors. We assessed shape variation between juveniles and adults of both sexes, and among adults for populations from high- and low-predation areas. Shape differed significantly between predation regimes for all juveniles regardless of sex. As males grew and matured into adults, ontogenetic shape trajectories were parallel, thus maintaining shape differences in adult males between predation environments. However, shape of adult females between predation environments followed a different pattern. As females grew and matured, ontogenetic shape trajectories converged so that shape differences were less pronounced between mature females in predator and nonpredator environments. Convergence in female body shape may indicate a trade-off between optimal shape for predator evasion versus shape required for the livebearing mode of reproduction.

Original Publication Citation

E.M.A. Hassell, P.J. Meyers, E.J. Billman, J.E. Rasmussen, and M.C. Belk. 2012. Ontogeny and sex alter the effect of predation on body shape in a livebearing fish: sexual dimorphism, parallelism, and costs of reproduction. Ecology and Evolution 2:1738-1746.

Document Type

Peer-Reviewed Article

Publication Date

2012-06-25

Publisher

Ecology and Evolution

Language

English

College

Life Sciences

Department

Biology

University Standing at Time of Publication

Full Professor

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