The developmental threshold is the minimum size or condition that a developing organism must have reached in order for a life-history transition to occur. Although developmental thresholds have been observed for many organisms, inter-population variation among natural populations has not been examined. Since isolated populations can be subjected to strong divergent selection, population divergence in developmental thresholds can be predicted if environmental conditions favour fast or slow developmental time in different populations. Amphibian metamorphosis is a well-studied life-history transition, and using a common garden approach we compared the development time and the developmental threshold of metamorphosis in four island populations of the common frog Rana temporaria: two populations originating from islands with only temporary breeding pools and two from islands with permanent pools. As predicted, tadpoles from time-constrained temporary pools had a genetically shorter development time than those from permanent pools. Furthermore, the variation in development time among females from temporary pools was low, consistent with the action of selection on rapid development in this environment. However, there were no clear differences in the developmental thresholds between the populations, indicating that the main response to life in a temporary pool is to shorten the development time.