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Zoomorphology

, Volume 136, Issue 1, pp 61–73 | Cite as

Cranial anatomy of the amazing bromeliad tadpoles of Phyllodytes gyrinaethes (Hylidae: Lophyohylini), with comments about other gastromyzophorous larvae

  • Florencia Vera CandiotiEmail author
  • Alexander Haas
  • Ronald Altig
  • Oswaldo Peixoto
Original Paper

Abstract

The ecomorphological guild “gastromyzophorous” joins tadpoles that inhabit flowing water and have an abdominal sucker which is employed to adhere to substrates. Historically, gastromyzophorous larvae were known in the Bufonidae and Ranidae, but a new sucker-bearing hylid tadpole was recently described from phytotelmons in Brazilian forests. We describe the larval internal anatomy of Phyllodytes gyrinaethes and ask whether its exceptional external morphology is accompanied by derived anatomical internal features that can be related to the special habitat. We also compare it to the anatomy of sucker-bearing tadpoles from other families with a focus on characters exclusive of each lineage and the shared, convergent features. The skeleton of P. gyrinaethes is highly modified relative to that of pond-type hylines and shows a profound restructuring of the oral region, palatoquadrates, and the branchial baskets. Among the muscles, besides the overall reduction in the branchial musculature, the most unusual feature in this species are the enormous, anteriorly oriented mm. levatores mandibulae externus profundus that likely produce the abduction of the two halves of the snout. The presence of the abdominal sucker is coupled with changes in some muscle trajectories and hypertrophy of the subhyoid ligaments, and the sucker connectivity differs in some aspects compared with those of bufonids and ranids (e.g., the presence of massive mm. diaphragmatopraecordialis parallel to the sucker plane). P. gyrinaethes tadpoles, with their combination of both rare and unique morphological features plus their confined microhabitat with exceptional functional and ecological requirements, represent an extreme morphotype within Hylidae and anuran tadpoles in general.

Keywords

Chondrocranium Levator mandibulae externus profundus Subhyoid ligament Three-dimensional reconstruction 

Abbreviations

Lev.

Levator

m.

Musculus

mand.

Mandibulae

Notes

Acknowledgements

This work was supported by Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Agencia Nacional de Promoción Científica y Tecnológica, and Universidad Nacional de Tucumán Grants: PICTs 2012/2687, 2013/0404, 2014/1930, PIP 0875, and CIUNT-G430. We deeply thank E. Gretscher for serial sectioning and F. Pucci Alcaide for the photographs of histological sections. Also, we deeply thank F. Nascimento and B. Lisboa for the tadpole video recording and discussions about larvae behavior in the field.

Supplementary material

Supplementary material 1 (MP4 60918 kb)

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Florencia Vera Candioti
    • 1
    Email author
  • Alexander Haas
    • 2
  • Ronald Altig
    • 3
  • Oswaldo Peixoto
    • 4
  1. 1.Unidad Ejecutora Lillo (CONICET-FML)TucumánArgentina
  2. 2.Biozentrum Grindel und Zoologisches Museum HamburgHamburgGermany
  3. 3.Department of Biological SciencesMississippi State UniversityMississippi StateUSA
  4. 4.Departamento de Biologia Animal, Instituto de BiologiaUniversidade Federal Rural do Rio de JaneiroSeropédicaBrazil

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