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Sexual Dimorphism and Mating Systems in Voles

Richard S. Ostfeld and Edward J. Heske
Journal of Mammalogy
Vol. 74, No. 1 (Feb., 1993), pp. 230-233
DOI: 10.2307/1381925
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/1381925
Page Count: 4
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Sexual Dimorphism and Mating Systems in Voles
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Abstract

Here we respond to the criticism that use of body length is an incorrect and misleading measure of sexual dimorphism in body size (Boonstra et al., 1993, J. Mammal., 74:224-229). Despite the contention by Boonstra et al. that body mass is a more sensitive metric for detecting dimorphism, some vole populations show statistically significant dimorphism for length, but not mass. Published studies based on length and mass corroborate many of our conclusions based on length only (Heske and Ostfeld, 1990, J. Mammal., 71:510-519) and are in opposition to the results of Boonstra et al. based on mass. We question the reasoning behind Boonstra et al.'s expectation of sexual dimorphism in promiscuous and facultatively monogamous species, and urge that clearer predictions be formulated.

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