Climatological correlates for body size of five species of Australian mammals

Yoram Yom‐Tov, Henry Nix

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Size variation of body and skull of five species of Australian mammals (echidna, Tachyglossus aculeatus; brush‐tail possum, Trichosurus vulpecula; eastern grey kangaroo, Macropus giganteus; western grey kangaroo, M. fuliginosus; red kangaroo, M. rufus), is related to climatic factors. All five species show trends in body size that conform with Bergmann's rule, individuals from colder environments being larger than those from warmer areas. The western and eastern grey kangaroos also conform with Allen's rule, the relative size of their extremities being large in warmer areas. In four of the five species (not the red kangaroo) body size is also correlated with indices of biomass productivity. However, since biomass productivity and ambient temperature are related to some extent, it is difficult to separate the effects of these factors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)245-262
Number of pages18
JournalBiological Journal of the Linnean Society
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1986
Externally publishedYes


  • Allen's rule
  • Australia
  • Bergmann's rule
  • body size
  • brush‐tail possum
  • echidna
  • grey kangaroo ‐red kangaroo


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