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Keywords:

  • developmental stress;
  • diet quality;
  • Discoglossus galganoi;
  • energetic constraint;
  • fluctuating asymmetry;
  • ontogenetic trade-off;
  • predation risk

Abstract

Metamorphosis can disrupt the correlation structure between juvenile and adult traits, thus allowing relatively independent evolution in contrasting environments. We used a multiple experimental approach to investigate how diet quality and larval predation risk affected the rates of growth and development in painted frogs (Discoglossus galganoi), and how these changes influence post-metamorphic performance. A high-energy diet entailed growth advantages only if predation risk did not constrain energy acquisition, whereas diet quality affected primarily the extension of the larval period. Predation risk influenced juvenile shape, most likely via the effects on growth and differentiation rates. Juvenile frogs emerging from predator environments had shorter legs and longer bodies than those from the nonpredator tanks. However, these morphological changes did not translate into differences in relative jumping performance. Neither size-adjusted lipid storage nor fluctuating asymmetry was significantly influenced by food quality or predation risk. Our data suggest that the post-metamorphic costs of predator avoidance during the larval phase are mostly a consequence of small size at metamorphosis.