PHYLOGENETIC ANALYSES REVEAL UNEXPECTED PATTERNS IN THE EVOLUTION OF REPRODUCTIVE MODES IN FROGS
Article first published online: 15 JUL 2012
© 2012 The Author(s). Evolution© 2012 The Society for the Study of Evolution.
Volume 66, Issue 12, pages 3687–3700, December 2012
How to Cite
Gomez-Mestre, I., Pyron, R. A. and Wiens, J. J. (2012), PHYLOGENETIC ANALYSES REVEAL UNEXPECTED PATTERNS IN THE EVOLUTION OF REPRODUCTIVE MODES IN FROGS. Evolution, 66: 3687–3700. doi: 10.1111/j.1558-5646.2012.01715.x
- Issue published online: 3 DEC 2012
- Article first published online: 15 JUL 2012
- Accepted manuscript online: 25 JUN 2012 08:52AM EST
- Received November 2, 2011 Accepted June 2, 2012
- clutch size;
- egg size;
- life history;
- parental care
Understanding phenotypic diversity requires not only identification of selective factors that favor origins of derived states, but also factors that favor retention of primitive states. Anurans (frogs and toads) exhibit a remarkable diversity of reproductive modes that is unique among terrestrial vertebrates. Here, we analyze the evolution of these modes, using comparative methods on a phylogeny and matched life-history database of 720 species, including most families and modes. As expected, modes with terrestrial eggs and aquatic larvae often precede direct development (terrestrial egg, no tadpole stage), but surprisingly, direct development evolves directly from aquatic breeding nearly as often. Modes with primitive exotrophic larvae (feeding outside the egg) frequently give rise to direct developers, whereas those with nonfeeding larvae (endotrophic) do not. Similarly, modes with eggs and larvae placed in locations protected from aquatic predators evolve frequently but rarely give rise to direct developers. Thus, frogs frequently bypass many seemingly intermediate stages in the evolution of direct development. We also find significant associations between terrestrial reproduction and reduced clutch size, larger egg size, reduced adult size, parental care, and occurrence in wetter and warmer regions. These associations may help explain the widespread retention of aquatic eggs and larvae, and the overall diversity of anuran reproductive modes.