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Morphology of skin incubation in Pipa carvalhoi (Anura: Pipidae).

Authors
  • Greven, Hartmut
  • Richter, Susanne
Type
Published Article
Journal
Journal of morphology
Publication Date
Nov 01, 2009
Volume
270
Issue
11
Pages
1311–1319
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1002/jmor.10759
PMID: 19434720
Source
Medline
License
Unknown

Abstract

South American Pipidae show a unique reproductive mode, in which the fertilized eggs develop in temporarily formed brood chambers of the dorsal skin after eggs have been deposited on the back of the female. We studied the skin incubation of Pipa carvalhoi using light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy. The skin consists of a stratified epithelium with a one-layered stratum corneum, and the dermis. The dermis of the dorsal skin of nonreproductive and reproductive females lacks a distinct stratum compactum, which is typical for most anuran skins. The entire dermis shows irregularly arranged collagen bundles like a stratum spongiosum. Before egg laying, the skin swells, primarily by thickening and further by loosening of the middle zone of the dermis. In the epidermis, large furrows develop that are the prospective sites of egg nidation. The epidermis, which forms a brood chamber around the developing egg becomes bi-layered and very thin and lacks a stratum corneum. Further, the dermis loosens and becomes heavily vascularized. Egg carrying females do not have mature oocytes in their ovaries indicating a slow down or interruption of egg maturation during this period. Similarities with the brood pouch of marsupial frogs are discussed.

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