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Bigger Males, Bigger Females? Pigeons’ Sexual Size Dimorphism
Annual Research & Review in Biology,
Sexual dimorphism, defined as phenotypic differences between males and females, is a common phenomenon in animals. In this line, Rensch’s rule states that sexual size dimorphism increases with increasing body size when the male is the larger sex and decreases with increasing average body size when the female is the larger sex. Domesticated animals offer excellent opportunities for testing predictions of functional explanations of Rensch’s theory. Pigeon breeds encounters many different functional purposes and selective constraints, which could influence strongly their morphology. The aim of this paper is to examine, for first time, Rensch’s rule among domestic pigeons. It was compiled a database of 12 quantitative traits (body weight, body height, beak thickness, beak length, neck length, neck thickness, wing length, rump width, tail length, tarsus length, tarsus thickness and middle toe length) for males and females of 11 different domestic pigeon breeds: Bangladesh Indigenous, Racing Homer, Turkish Tumbler, Indian Lotan, Kokah, Mookee, Indian Fantail, Bokhara Trumpeter, Bombai, Lahore and Hungarian Giant House; Rock Pigeon (Columba livia) was also considered as wild relative for comparative purposes. Comparative results between males and females showed that only body weight, wing length and neck thickness were consistent with Rensch’s rule. The rest of trait did not present correlations. Among domestic pigeons, there can appear different expressions of dimorphism according to each trait, so it must be considered that Rensch’s rule vary when considering other traits than body weight.
- Columba livia
- Rensch’s rule
- rock pigeon
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