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The allometry between secondary sexual traits and body size is nonlinear among cervids

Jean-François Lemaître 1 C. Vanpé F. Plard Jean-Michel Gaillard 1 
1 Biodémographie évolutive
Département écologie évolutive [LBBE]
Abstract : Allometric relationships between sexually selected traits and body size have been extensively studied in recent decades. While sexually selected traits generally display positive allometry, a few recent reports have suggested that allometric relationships are not always linear. In male cervids, having both long antlers and large size provides benefits in terms of increased mating success. However, such attributes are costly to grow and maintain, and these costs might constrain antler length from increasing at the same rate as body mass in larger species if the quantity of energy that males can extract from their environment is limiting. We tested for possible nonlinearity in the relationship between antler size and body mass (on a log-log scale) among 31 cervids and found clear deviation from linearity in the allometry of antler length. Antler length increased linearly until a male body mass threshold at approximately 110 kg. Beyond this threshold, antler length did not change with increasing mass. We discuss this evidence of nonlinear allometry in the light of life-history theory and stress the importance of testing for nonlinearity when studying allometric relationships.
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Jean-François Lemaître, C. Vanpé, F. Plard, Jean-Michel Gaillard. The allometry between secondary sexual traits and body size is nonlinear among cervids. Biology Letters, Royal Society, The, 2014, 10 (3), pp.20130869. ⟨10.1098/rsbl.2013.0869⟩. ⟨hal-02046820⟩



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