Evol Ecol Res 8: 1049-1059 (2006) Full PDF if your library subscribes.
Bergmann’s rule and the terrestrial caecilian Schistometopum thomense (Amphibia: Gymnophiona: Caeciliidae)
G. John Measey* and Stefan Van Dongen
Laboratory of Animal Ecology, Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, B-2610 Antwerp, Belgium
Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
Question: Do caecilians follow Bergmann’s rule?
Hypothesis: Bergmann’s rule explains the wide variation in body sizes found among populations of the terrestrial caecilian Schistometopum thomense.
Field site: This is a range-wide study incorporating most terrestrial habitats throughout the island of São Tomé in the Gulf of Guinea.
Methods: We performed morphological measurements on 95 museum specimens and 187 field-collected individuals and compared them with site data from 13 separate localities on the island.
Conclusions: This is the first example of a caecilian amphibian that follows Bergmann’s rule. Total body mass doubles and length increases by nearly 50% up to 1050 m of altitude. This result is surprising as it occurs virtually on the equator, over a very small spatial scale (< 16 km horizontal), and within a relatively small temperature range (< 10°C).
Keywords: altitude, Bergmann’s rule, burrowing, Gymnophiona.
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