Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Reproductive plasticity revealed: Neotropical treefrog can choose to lay eggs in water or on land

20.05.2008
Discovery opens new avenues of research into the evolution of reproduction on land

When frogs reproduce, like all vertebrates, they either lay their eggs in water or on land – with one exception, according to new research by a team of Boston University scientists who discovered a treefrog (Dendropsophus ebraccatus) in Panama that reproduces both ways. The neotropical frog makes a behavioral decision to lay egg masses aquatically in a pond or terrestrially on the overhanging plants above a pond, where the newly-hatched tadpoles simply fall into the water.

The dual reproductive capabilities enable this species of tree frogs to choose the best environment for egg development avoiding either aquatic predators or the hot tropical sunlight that dries out the eggs. In two shady forest ponds the mating frogs laid terrestrial egg masses, as expected from previous research. In a third pond in an old gravel quarry without a forest canopy, the vast majority -- 76 percent -- of the eggs were laid in water, supported by aquatic vegetation. The remaining 24 percent were on leaves above the pond, although the mortality rate of these eggs was high due to the heat and lack of shade.

The study, “Reproductive Mode Plasticity: Aquatic and Terrestrial Oviposition in a Treefrog,” by BU graduate student Justin C. Touchon and Assistant Professor of Biology Karen M. Warkentin appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) online this week.

... more about:
»Warkentin »Water »aquatic »terrestrial »treefrog

To test if genetic differences made frogs lay eggs in water or on land, or if instead their different environments affected egg-laying choices, Touchon and Warkentin built miniature ponds in an open field and in the forest. When they placed pairs of mating treefrogs in the shaded ponds, the frogs laid eggs on leaves above the water. In unshaded ponds, however, frogs put most of their eggs in the water.

Although this frog is the first vertebrate discovered to show reproductive flexibility, Touchon and Warkentin emphasize that it is probably not alone. The way an animal reproduces has been viewed as fixed, since most aquatic eggs die on land, and terrestrial eggs drown in water. This little yellow treefrog shows us such inflexibility is not universal.

Thus, the evolutionary change from aquatic to terrestrial eggs -- which has happened many times -- may not be a dichotomous switch but instead represent movement along a continuum.

Touchon and Warkentin suggest that this treefrog “could represent an intermediate stage in the evolution of terrestrial reproduction, combining a retained ancestral capacity for aquatic development with a derived ability for terrestrial oviposition and development.” This discovery opens new avenues of research into the evolution of reproduction on land. The treefrog’s ability to vary where it lays its eggs might also help it cope with changes in its environment, improving its chances of surviving habitat clearing or climate change.

Ronald Rosenberg | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.bu.edu

Further reports about: Warkentin Water aquatic terrestrial treefrog

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht Decoding the genome's cryptic language
27.02.2017 | University of California - San Diego

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Safe glide at total engine failure with ELA-inside

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded after a glide flight with an Airbus A320 in ditching on the Hudson River. All 155 people on board were saved.

On January 15, 2009, Chesley B. Sullenberger was celebrated world-wide: after the two engines had failed due to bird strike, he and his flight crew succeeded...

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

New pop-up strategy inspired by cuts, not folds

27.02.2017 | Materials Sciences

Sandia uses confined nanoparticles to improve hydrogen storage materials performance

27.02.2017 | Interdisciplinary Research

Decoding the genome's cryptic language

27.02.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>