Do male moor frogs (Rana arvalis) lek with kin?

M Heimovirta, H Kokko, Juha Merila

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Citations (Scopus)


Many amphibian species are known to form leks during breeding season, yet it has seldom been tested which evolutionary forces are likely to act on lek formation in this taxon. We tested the kin selection hypothesis for lek formation by using eight variable microsatellite loci to compare the genetic relationship of 203 males in seven Rana arvalis leks. The results indicate that moor frog males do not lek with kin: their relatedness within leks was not higher than expected by chance. Furthermore, spatially distinct leks within same water bodies could not be distinguished from each other as separate units. These results are not expected if kin selection underlie lek formation. On the basis of these results and general knowledge of anuran breeding biology, we suggest that lek formation in explosively breeding amphibians might have evolved by female choice for breeding aggregations, combined with female choice of habitat. Future work should aim at predicting agregations based on rules of phonotaxis over different spatial scales, and empirical work should document visitation rates not only for leks of a specific size, but also for different travel distances that visiting females may have had to cover.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2522-2530
Number of pages9
JournalMolecular Ecology
Publication statusPublished - 2008
Externally publishedYes


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