Patterns of Second-to-Fourth Digit Length Ratios (2D:4D) in Two Species of Frogs and Two Species of Lizards at La Selva, Costa Rica

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Abstract

It is now well documented that androgen and estrogen signaling during early development cause a sexual dimorphism in second-to-fourth digit length ratio (2D:4D). It is also well documented that males of mammalian species have a smaller 2D:4D than females. Although there are discrepancies among 2D:4D studies in birds, the consensus is that birds exhibit the opposite pattern with males having a larger 2D:4D than females. The literature currently lacks substantial information regarding the phylogenetic pattern of this trait in amphibians and reptiles. In this study, we examined 2D:4D in two species of frogs (Oophaga pumilio and Craugastor bransfordii) and two species of lizards (Anolis humilis and Anolis limifrons) to determine the existence and the pattern of the sexual dimorphism. Male O. pumilio and C. bransfordii displayed larger 2D:4D than females in at least one of their two forelimbs. Male A. humilis had larger 2D:4D than females in both hindlimbs, but smaller 2D:4D than females in both forelimbs. Male A. limifrons may also have smaller 2D:4D than females in the right forelimb. Finally, digit ratios were sometimes positively related to body length, suggesting allometric growth. Overall, our results support the existence of the 2D:4D sexual dimorphism in amphibians and lizards and add to the knowledge of 2D:4D trait patterning among tetrapods. Anat Rec, 2012. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

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