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Development of the pelvis and posterior part of the vertebral column in the Anura

  • Hana Ročková
  • Zbyněk Roček
Blackwell Science Inc
Publication Date
Jan 01, 2005
  • Biology
  • Medicine


The anuran pelvic girdle is unique among all amphibians in that its acetabular portion is located far posterior to the sacrum, lateral to the postsacral (= caudal) vertebral column, which is reduced to a single rod-like element called the urostyle. This situation in the adult is strikingly different not only from that in ancestral temnospondyls but also in other modern amphibians. Because there is no fossil that would document this evolutionary anatomical modification except for Triadobatrachus, the only data may be inferred from development in modern anurans. We chose seven anuran species (belonging to the genera Discoglossus, Bombina, Pelobates, Bufo, Rana and Xenopus), representing the principal locomotory types (saltation, swimming, crawling and burrowing). Development of the pelvic girdle was studied on cleared and stained whole mounts and partly on serial histological sections. The basic developmental pattern was similar in all species: the pelvis on both sides develops from two centres (puboischiadic and iliac, respectively). The ilium then extends vertically towards the sacral vertebra and later rotates posteriorly so that ultimately the acetabulum is lateral to the tail (= urostyle). Only minor deviations from this pattern were found, mainly associated with differences in water and terrestrial dwelling.

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