Intraspecific variation in body size and sexual size dimorphism, and a test of Rensch's rule in bats

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Ulian, Carina M. V.
Rossi, Marcelo N.
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The magnitude and direction of sexual size dimorphism (SSD) may vary considerably within and among taxa, and the primary causes of such variation have not been thoroughly elucidated. For example, the effect of abiotic factors is frequently attributed to explain intra- and interspecific variation in SSD. Rensch's rule, which states that males vary more in size than females when body size increases, has rarely been tested in bats. Therefore, whether bats follow Rensch's rule remains unclear, particularly when females are larger than males. We investigated whether four bat species presented SSD, as well as whether their body sizes varied within each sex across localities, testing the hypothesis that intraspecific SSD varies substantially depending of sampling localities. We finally examined whether bats followed Rensch's rule by simultaneously using intraspecific and interspecific approaches. Although SSD was not observed for most bat species within each locality, the females of three of the four captured species exhibited differences in body size between particular localities. Usually the females varied more in size than did males across localities, mostly exhibiting a female-biased SSD. Significant differences in SSD were observed (i.e. mean values of the sexual dimorphism index), even though Rensch's rule was not followed.
Acta Zoologica. Hoboken, v. 98, n. 4, p. 377-386, 2017.