Morphometric variation in the Tunisian green frog, Rana saharica (Anura: Ranidae)
Rana saharica is the most widely distributed anuran in Tunisia. We examined morphological variation in 124 specimens as a function of their geographical origin, using univariate and multivariate statistics with traditional morphometrics. Our results supported the existence of three morphotypes of this species, correctly classified 84.7% of specimens, and indicated significant degrees of variation in morphometric characteristics between regions. No significant differences were found between sexes among populations. We observed an increase in body size and a decrease in body mass as a function of latitude. Specimens from the southernmost region had the smallest body size and the greatest morphometric divergence. The pattern of morphometric variation probably results from phenotypic plasticity correlated with local environmental factors.
Key words: Rana saharica, Tunisia, morphometric variation, phenotypic plasticity.