MEPS 385:33-37 (2009)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08090

Ectotherms with a calcareous exoskeleton follow the temperature-size rule—evidence from field survey

Takahiro Irie1,*, Klaus Fischer2

1Sesoko Station, Tropical Biosphere Research Center, University of the Ryukyus, 3422 Sesoko, Motobu, Okinawa 905-0227, Japan
2Zoological Institute and Museum, University of Greifswald, Johann-Sebastian-Bach-Str. 11/12, 17489 Greifswald, Germany

ABSTRACT: The temperature-size rule, an increase in body size of ectotherms at lower developmental temperatures and vice versa, prevails across taxa. Most studies in this context have focused on either terrestrial or freshwater species, and little is known about marine organisms with calcareous exoskeletons, in which a slower calcium carbonate precipitation may constrain somatic growth at lower temperatures. Further, as the vast majority of data stems from laboratory experiments, little is known about the applicability of the temperature-size rule under field conditions. If applicable, individuals that grow in warmer seasons should metamorphose at a smaller size than those that grow in cooler seasons. Based on this premise, we monitored size at metamorphosis in 2 natural populations of the intertidal gastropod with determinate growth, Monetaria annulus, for 46 mo in Okinawa. Metamorphosis in summer resulted in significantly smaller sizes compared to other seasons. There was a negative relationship between (summer) temperature and size at metamorphosis across populations. These findings suggest that higher temperatures induce a smaller metamorphic size in this species under natural conditions.


KEY WORDS: Monetaria annulus · Phenotypic plasticity · Seasonality · Size at metamorphosis


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Cite this article as: Irie T, Fischer K (2009) Ectotherms with a calcareous exoskeleton follow the temperature-size rule—evidence from field survey. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 385:33-37. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps08090

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