Positive correlation between dispersal and body size in green frogs (Rana clamitans) naturally colonizing an experimental landscape

C. A. Searcy, B. Gilbert, M. Krkošek, L. Rowe, S. J. McCauley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Dispersers are often assumed to have the mean phenotype observed across the entire metapopulation, despite growing evidence of dispersal–phenotype correlations. We examined three dispersal–phenotype correlations in Green Frogs (Rana clamitans Latreille, 1801 = Lithobates clamitans (Latreille, 1801)). Two were in traits that have been previously tied to fitness (body size and body condition), while a third (relative hindlimb length) has been linked to movement performance. We constructed a spatially dispersed array of experimental ponds in close proximity to source ponds known to support Green Frog breeding populations. Over the course of two breeding seasons (four sampling periods), we measured phenotypes of all Green Frogs that had colonized the experimental ponds and a sample of individuals from the source ponds. After only 1 month, a positive correlation was detected between dispersal and body size within the population of dispersers occupying the experimental ponds. After a 2nd month, this positive dispersal – body size correlation was also present when comparing the population of dispersers to the population of nondispersers remaining at the source ponds. Even if generated solely by plasticity, a positive correlation between dispersal and body size (a trait tightly linked to fitness) has the ability to alter metapopulation capacity and thus the probability of regional species persistence.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1378-1384
Number of pages7
JournalCanadian journal of zoology
Issue number12
StatePublished - 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Body condition
  • Body size
  • Green Frog
  • Hindlimb length
  • Metapopulation
  • Rana clamitans

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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