Bergmann's and Rensch's rules and the spur-thighed tortoise (Testudo graeca)

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Werner Y. L. , Korolker N., Sion G., Gocmen B.

BIOLOGICAL JOURNAL OF THE LINNEAN SOCIETY, cilt.117, ss.796-811, 2016 (SCI İndekslerine Giren Dergi) identifier identifier

  • Cilt numarası: 117 Konu: 4
  • Basım Tarihi: 2016
  • Doi Numarası: 10.1111/bij.12717
  • Sayfa Sayıları: ss.796-811


Body size is an ecologically important variable in animals. The geographical size variation of most snakes and some lizards counters Bergmann's rule in that, among related taxa, the larger ones live at warmer latitudes. However, exceptions notwithstanding, and despite being ectothermic, turtles as a group tend to obey Bergmann's rule. We examined this idea in Testudo graeca, ranging from Morocco to Romania and to Iran with disputed systematics, both at the global scale (using literature) and within the focal area of Israel (using museum specimens). Both globally and locally, carapace length correlated with latitude, in accordance with Bergmann's rule. The scant data on reproduction fully support the hypothesis that Bergmann's rule enables larger clutches where the climate would limit repeated clutches. The sexual size dimorphism (SSD) was approached using two methodologies: (1) conventional', using globally literature data and locally museum samples and (2) innovated', using photographs of copulating tortoises from Israel and Turkey. By each methodology, SSD emerged as being male biased in the larger-bodied populations and female biased in the smaller-bodied populations, obeying Rensch's rule. Some observations support the hypothesis that the evolution of large males serves intermale combating. Finally, Rensch's rule was found to apply separately within Anatolia and within the Levant, possibly indicating that these populations are separate.