Plasticity in sexual size dimorphism and Rensch's rule in Mediterranean blennies (Blenniidae)

W. Lengkeek, K. Didderen, I.M. Côté, E.M. van der Zee, R.C. Snoek, J.D. Reynolds

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)


Comparative analyses of sexual size dimorphism (SSD) across species have led to the discovery of Rensch's rule. This rule states that SSD increases with body size when males are the largest sex, but decreases with increasing size when females are larger. Within-species comparisons of SSD in fish are rare, yet these may be a valuable tool to investigate evolutionary patterns on a fine scale. This study compares SSD among closely related populations of three species of Mediterranean blennies (Blenniidae): Microlipophrys canevae (Vinciguerra, 1880), Parablennius incognitus (Bath 1968), and Aidablennius sphynx (Valenciennes, 1836). SSD varied more among populations than among species and Rensch's rule was confirmed within two species. It is not likely that the variation among populations in SSD mirrors genetic variation, as many of the populations were in close proximity of one another, with a high potential for genetic exchange. This study complements larger scale analyses of other taxa and demonstrates the fine scale on which evolutionary processes responsible for Rensch's rule may be operating.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1173-1178
JournalCanadian Journal of Zoology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • salaria-pavo
  • body-size
  • allometry
  • evolution
  • females
  • population
  • selection
  • ecology
  • pisces
  • males


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