Determination of growth and maturation in the common frog, Rana temporaria, by skeletochronology



Growth and maturation in a Swiss population of Rana temporaria were studied in 1983 and 1984 by means of skeletochronology. Resting line (growth ring) diameters were used to back-calculate individual body sizes in previous years; these permitted establishment of an average growth curve and determination of individual ages and sizes at first reproduction. Growth was rapid up to maturation, but continued thereafter at a decreased rate. Males were larger than females at age two but females grew faster thereafter, causing sexual dimorphism in adult body sizes. Body size distributions for both years and for frogs recaptured and first captured in 1984 were established. Growth in immatures was positively, but in adults negatively correlated with body size, with considerable variation at all sizes. Individual adult sizes were positively correlated with body sizes at the end of the first year. Average individual age at first reproduction was 2.8 years in males and 3.1 years in females (range in both sexes two to four years). There is no evidence for a two-year-cycle of reproduction.