A water conservation hypothesis describes a consistent effect of rising precipitation (and resource abundance) on body size reductions. The goal of this study was to look into a water conservation theory in millipedes and compare the high long-term mean annual precipitation of forest biome species (750-1500 mm) to the lower long-term mean annual precipitation of savanna biome species (544 mm) (n=29, 6). When the confounding effects of phylogeny, sexual dimorphism, sexual size dimorphism, and size were controlled/removed, differences in surface area: volume ratios were found between six savanna species (Bicoxidens brincki, Doratogonus annulipes, Harpagophora spirobolina, Julomorpha hilaris, J. panda, Odontopyge tabulinus: 0,3597 The surface area-to-volume ratios of savanna millipedes were size-independent (0,519783 mm-1 in males and 0,823878 mm-1 in females). Surface area: volume ratios (t=3.75191, p=0.000013, n=58,12) adjusting for the derivation whereby length/width increase influenced surface area equally showed differences between size-independent savanna and size-dependent forest taxa. Female savanna millipedes were longer (t=2.26165, p=0.016156, n=22, 6) than female forest millipedes.
School of Animal, Plant & Environmental Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg 2050, South Africa
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