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Evolution of body shape in true toads: Sexual dimorphism and selective mechanisms

Grant number: 17/20299-1
Support Opportunities:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctoral
Effective date (Start): February 01, 2018
Effective date (End): April 08, 2019
Field of knowledge:Biological Sciences - Zoology - Morphology of Recent Groups
Principal Investigator:Tiana Kohlsdorf
Grantee:Renato Christensen Nali
Host Institution: Faculdade de Filosofia, Ciências e Letras de Ribeirão Preto (FFCLRP). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). Ribeirão Preto , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:15/07650-6 - Ecology, evolution and development (Eco-Evo-Devo) in the Brazilian herpetofauna, AP.TEM


Sexual dimorphism - defined by secondary differences between males and females of a given species - is a widespread phenomenon in the animal kingdom that is fascinating. Most studies on sexual dimorphism either focus on a single species to address complex morphological differences, or rely on measures of a single trait, as body size, to infer sexual dimorphism. This proposal aims to combine such approaches and use a comparative framework with broad taxonomic sampling to evaluate selective mechanisms related to the evolution of sexual dimorphism in body shape, in addition to body size. We will focus on true toads (Anura, family Bufonidae), a family comprising approximately 600 species globally distributed that differ in size and reproductive modes. We will test two main hypotheses, using an extensive database compiled from museum specimens and collected individuals: (1) limbs are target of selection in males, but not in females, in species that compete while mating (i.e., when males dislocate pairs that are already amplectant), leading to a male-biased sexual dimorphism; and (2) the trunk region is a target of selection in females, but not males, due to a selective pressure for increasing fecundity, leading to female-biased sexual dimorphism. Our study may show that refined measurements, other than body size, must be incorporated in the study of evolutionary processes shaping differences between males and females, which will strongly contribute for the fields of functional morphology and ecomorphology.

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Scientific publications
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
BORGES, MARILIA M.; NALI, RENATO C.; FIORILLO, BRUNO F.; PRADO, CYNTHIA P. A.. Site fidelity, reproductive behavior and investment in the Brazilian Reticulate Leaf Frog, Pithecopus ayeaye LUTZ, 1966 (Anura: Phyllomedusidae). HERPETOZOA, v. 31, n. 1-2, p. 61-68, . (11/00507-2, 12/06228-0, 10/03656-6, 17/20299-1, 09/12013-4)

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