Journal article

May the (selective) force be with you: Spatial sorting and natural selection exert opposing forces on limb length in an invasive amphibian

Gregory S Clarke, Richard Shine, Benjamin L Phillips

JOURNAL OF EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY | WILEY | Published : 2019

Abstract

Spatial sorting on invasion fronts drives the evolution of dispersive phenotypes, and in doing so can push phenotypes in the opposite direction to natural selection. The invasion of cane toads (Rhinella marina) through tropical Australia has accelerated over recent decades because of the accumulation of dispersal-enhancing traits at the invasion front, driven by spatial sorting. One such trait is the length of the forelimbs: invasion-front toads have longer arms (relative to body length) in comparison with populations 10-20 years after invasion. Such a shift likely has fitness consequences: an increase of forearm length would decrease the strength with which a male could cling to a female du..

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University of Melbourne Researchers