Nokhbatolfoghahai, M., K. W. Conway, L. Atherton, P. B. Budha, M. J. Jowers & J. R. Downie

In Issues 2020

Larval description and developmental staging of Amolops tadpoles from Nepal, including ultrastructure of the oral disc and sucker. pp. 317-328 plus Supplementary document.

Abstract. Tadpoles of the Asiatic torrent frog genus Amolops possess large abdominal suckers and a complex oral apparatus which allow them to adhere tightly to and also to move over wet rock surfaces, a morphology termed gastromyzophorous. Accounts of larval development, and overall sucker morphology and microstructure are patchy in this genus. Here, from a large sample (n = 90) of Amolops tadpoles collected from two sites in Nepal, we give a detailed description of the tadpoles’ external morphology, including pigment pattern variation, and their development from soon after hatching to the approach of metamorphosis, including new features of their oral apparatus (tooth rows and labia). Using SEM, we describe ultrastructural details of the sucker’s surface, especially microvillated cells of the friction areas. From stained sections, previously unreported arrays of elastin fibres are described from the distal margins of the suckers. Based on our phylogenetic analyses and tadpole morphology we conclude that our specimens belong to the recently described species, A. mahabharatensis.

Key words. Amphibia, Anura, Ranidae, adhesion, histology, SEM, phylogeny, Himalayas.

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