The occurrence of variation in body size and reproductive traits of Vipera aspis was assessed by analysing 74 reproductive females of different populations, collected throughout a large part of the distribution range of the taxon, from central-western France to central Italy. Six populations were analysed, two of plain habitats, in France and Italy, characterized by a Continental climate, whereas the other four derived from two coastal and two inland, hilly Italian habitats, respectively, showing a Mediterranean climate. Females of the French area showed the smallest mean body size, whereas the pre- and post-partum body masses of females from the coolest, central Italic area were significantly higher. Litter size varied among habitats and was significantly correlated with maternal body size. If the snout–vent length feature varied largely among offspring of different habitats (with the longest size occurring in representatives of the coastal, central Italian area), the average of both body mass and total mass of offsprings did not exhibit any clear pattern among populations colonizing different habitats. Nevertheless, relative litter mass was higher in the French continental populations, and lower in the coolest, Mediterranean, Italian ones. It is worth emphasizing the positive correlation between the snout–vent length feature of females and the total litter mass to environmental factors, such as hottest month temperature and total rainfall. The available literature records that female body size affects offspring size and fecundity. If the present study bolsters this correlation, it also rules out any other effect of female body size on the offspring characteristics analysed. Finally, evidence is provided for the role of climatic factors on life-history traits (e.g. pre-partum body mass) of asp vipers, although confounding effects pursued, for example, by food availability may occur.
|Autori interni:||ZUFFI, MARCO ALBERTO LUCA|
|Autori:||ZUFFI M; GENTILLI A; CECCHINELLI E; PUPIN F; BONNET X; FILIPPI E; LUISELLI L.M; BARBANERA F; DINI F|
|Titolo:||Geographic variation of body size and reproductive patterns in Continental versus Mediterranean asp vipers, Vipera aspis|
|Anno del prodotto:||2009|
|Appare nelle tipologie:||1.1 Articolo in rivista|