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Male Combat, Paternal Care, and the Evolution of Male Biased Sexual Size Dimorphism in the Emei Moustache Toad (Leptobrachium boringii)

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dc.contributor.advisor Fu, Jinzhong Hudson, Cameron 2012-09-06T19:01:26Z 2012-09-06T19:01:26Z 2012-08 2012-08-29 2012-09-06
dc.description.abstract I describe the natural history and reproductive behaviours of the Emei Moustache Toad (Leptobrachium boringii), testing the hypotheses that the species exhibits resource defense polygyny, and that combat, and paternal care lead to the evolution of male-biased sexual size dimorphism. In this study I document combat behaviour and paternal care for the first time in this species. Between February and March of 2011 and 2012, 26 female and 55 male L. boringii from Mount Emei UNESCO World Heritage Site, Sichuan, China, were observed throughout the breeding season. Prior to the breeding season, males grow 10-16 keratinized maxillary spines, which fall off once the season has ended. Throughout this time, males construct and defend aquatic nests where they produce advertisement calls to attract females. In a natural setting, I documented 14 cases involving a total of 22 males where males used their moustaches for aggressive interaction, and nest take over was observed on seven occasions. Despite my predictions, neither male body size nor body condition significantly affects the outcome of an aggressive interaction, though this may be representative of a low sample size. Males were also observed to possess injuries resulting from combat. Combat trials conducted in artificial nests demonstrated heightened aggression from resident males towards intruders. Genetic analysis using microsatellite markers revealed several cases of multiple paternity, both within nest and within clutch, indicating that some alternative male reproductive strategy, such as satellite behaviour is occurring. Larger males were observed to mate more frequently, and in multiple nests, suggesting that females are selecting for larger males, or that larger males are more capable of defending high quality territories. Males showed evidence of paternal care behaviours by remaining with the nests once females had left, moving throughout the nest cleaning, touching the eggs, and blowing bubbles into the centre of the doughnut-shaped egg masses. From this study I conclude that the male biased sexual size dimorphism in L. boringii is likely the result of both combat and paternal care behaviours creating a selection pressure on male body size. en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.subject Emei Moustache Toad en_US
dc.subject Sexual Size Dimorphism en_US
dc.subject Male-biased Sexual Size Dimorphism en_US
dc.subject Male Combat en_US
dc.subject Paternal Care en_US
dc.subject Anuran en_US
dc.subject Leptobrachium boringii en_US
dc.subject Resource Defense Polygyny en_US
dc.subject Megophryidae en_US
dc.title Male Combat, Paternal Care, and the Evolution of Male Biased Sexual Size Dimorphism in the Emei Moustache Toad (Leptobrachium boringii) en_US
dc.type Thesis en_US Integrative Biology en_US Master of Science en_US Department of Animal and Poultry Science en_US
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