, Volume 27, Issue 1, pp 195-201
Date: 28 Aug 2008

Burrowing behavior of Dermatonotus muelleri (Anura, Microhylidae) with reference to the origin of the burrowing behavior of Anura

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Abstract

Dermatonotus muelleri is a forelimbs-head-first burrowing frog that uses its forelimbs for soil removal, and it is the second anuran species known to arch its head downwards at an angle of almost 90° to the longitudinal axis of its body when burrowing. The burrowing behavior of D. muelleri is divided in three stages: head burrowing, body burrowing, and chamber construction. Burrowing in D. muelleri includes construction of a subterranean chamber used for estivation during the dry season. Phylogenetic analysis based on literature survey of burrowing behavior suggested that head-first burrowing behavior has evolved several times in anuran history, forming a convergence complex, and that hindlimbs-first burrowing is a basal behavior.