Biogeographical patterns in the Western Palearctic: The fasting-endurance hypothesis and the status of Murphy's rule

Shai Meiri*, Tamar Dayan, Daniel Simberloff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

Aim: In Europe, winter severity is positively correlated with longitude. We test how this climatic cline affects biogeographical patterns in Western Palearctic homeotherms. Location: Eurasia, west of 60° longitude. Methods: We test the effects of longitude on body size of carnivores, using cranial measurements of 2002 specimens belonging to 11 species. We test the effects of longitude on migration patterns of birds by comparing which populations of partial migrants are sedentary and which undergo winter migration. Results: Carnivore body size does not vary consistently with longitude. Populations of partial migrants are more likely to be sedentary in western Europe and to migrate from eastern Europe than vice versa. Main conclusions: Longitudinal patterns in climate exert a selective force on birds but do not affect carnivore size in a consistent, predictable manner. We find no support for the mechanism suggested to promote size change, namely the fasting-endurance hypothesis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)369-375
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Biogeography
Volume32
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2005

Keywords

  • Bird migration
  • Body size
  • Eurasia
  • Fasting endurance
  • Geographical variation
  • Latitude
  • Longitude
  • Seasonality

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