Direct development or endotrophic tadpole? Morphological aspects of the early ontogeny of the plump toad Osornophryne occidentalis (Anura: Bufonidae)

Andrés Romero-Carvajal, Leonardo Negrete, María J. Salazar-Nicholls, Karla Vizuete, Alexis Debut, Pedro H. Dias, Florencia Vera Candioti

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Andean Toads of the genus Osornophryne are suspected to have direct development on the basis of clutch and egg features. In this work, we describe the morphology of Osornophryne occidentalis embryos from a nest collected in the field. Several traits are similar to those reported in brachycephaloid Eleutherodactylus coqui and other direct-developing lineages. These include the pattern of formation of the body wall and the absence of oral and buccopharyngeal structures. Other features indicate the retention of ancestral larval characters. The development of forelimbs occurs in part within the operculum as in species with biphasic ontogeny; this has been reported in other direct-developing species, and is similar to what is described in African viviparous bufonids. This salient feature, along with the long, low-finned tail and the long and folded intestine early differentiated, gives these embryos a rather tadpole-like appearance. Our data confirm that development in O. occidentalis occurs within terrestrial eggs until advanced stages, and this would satisfy current definitions of direct development. At the same time, morphological differences regarding other species with comparable breeding reinforce interpretations about the wide anatomical and ontogenetic variations associated with endotrophic nutrition.

Idioma originalInglés
Número de artículoe21582
PublicaciónJournal of Morphology
EstadoPublicada - 25 mar. 2023

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