Neuromast topography in anuran amphibians

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62 Scopus citations


Generalized anuran tadpoles across families exhibit a similar neuromast morphology on their heads, as follows: (1) all neuromast lines known for anurans are present; (2) within these lines total neuromast number ranges from about 250 to 320; (3) neuromasts form linear stitches composed of two to three, but sometimes up to five, neuromasts; (4) neuromast linear dimensions are ⩽ 10 μm; and (5) neuromasts contain ⩽ 15 hair cells. Compared with generalized forms, stream, arboreal, carnivorous, and desert‐pond forms have fewer neuromasts but they contain more hair cells. They do not, however, form stitches. Obligate midwater suspension‐feeding forms, including Xenopus (Pipidae), Rhinophrynus (Rhinophyrnidae), and Phrynomerus (Microhylidae), form stitches that contain > six, but potentially up to 18 or more, loosely aggregated neuromasts. Xenopus and Rhinophrynus have large neuromasts (up to 40 μm across). Chiasmocleis (Microhylidae) tadpoles form stiches that are linearly arranged with up to ten neuromasts. Whereas urodeles can have more than one neuromast row per line and may form both linear and transverse stitches, anurans have only one row of neuromasts per line and form only transverse stitches. Neuromasts in anurans tend to be smaller and more circular than in urodeles and positioned flush with the epidermal surface. A greater percentage of anurans form stitches, and anurans have greater intrafamilial variation in stitch formation than do urodeles.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)115-129
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Morphology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1987
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Developmental Biology

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