The degree to which genetic variation in a given trait varies among different populations of the same species and across different environments has seldom been quantified in wild vertebrate species. We investigated the expression of genetic variability and maternal effects in three larval life-history traits of the amphibian
Rana temporaria. In a factorial laboratory experiment, five widely separated populations (max. 1600 km) were subjected to two different environmental treatments. Animal model analyses revealed that all traits were heritable ( h2≈0·20) in all populations and under most treatment combinations. Although the cross-food treatment genetic correlations were close to unity, heritabilities under a restricted food regime tended to be lower than those under an ad libitumfood regime. Likewise, maternal effects ( m2≈0·05) were detected in most traits, and they tended to be most pronounced under restricted food conditions. We detected several cross-temperature genetic and maternal effects correlations that were lower than unity, suggesting that genotype–environment interactions and maternal effect–environment interactions are a significant source of phenotypic variation. The results reinforce the perspective that although the expression of genetic and maternal effects may be relatively homogeneous across different populations of the same species, local variation in environmental conditions can lead to significant variation in phenotypic expression of quantitative traits through genotype–environment and maternal effect–environment interactions.