Potential environmental influences on variation in body size and sexual size dimorphism among Arizona populations of the western diamond-backed rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox)

Melissa Amarello, Erika M. Nowak, Emily N. Taylor, Gordon W. Schuett, Roger A. Repp, Philip C. Rosen, David L. Hardy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

23 Scopus citations

Abstract

Differences in resource availability and quality along environmental gradients are important influences contributing to intraspecific variation in body size, which influences numerous life-history traits. Here, we examined variation in body size and sexual size dimorphism (SSD) in relation to temperature, seasonality, and precipitation among 10 populations located throughout Arizona of the western diamond-backed rattlesnake (Crotalus atrox). Specifically, in our analyses we addressed the following questions: (i) Are adult males larger in cooler, wetter areas? (ii) Does female body size respond differently to environmental variation? (iii) Is seasonality a better predictor of body size variation? (iv) Is SSD positively correlated with increased resources? We demonstrate that male and female C. atrox are larger in body size in cooler (i.e., lower average annual maximum, minimum, and mean temperature) and wetter areas (i.e., higher average annual precipitation, more variable precipitation, and available surface water). Although SSD in C. atrox appeared to be more pronounced in cooler, wetter areas, this relationship did not achieve statistical significance.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1443-1449
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Arid Environments
Volume74
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2010

Keywords

  • Ectotherm
  • Precipitation
  • Reptile
  • Resource availability
  • Seasonality
  • Temperature

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Earth-Surface Processes

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