Burrowing in frogs
Article first published online: 6 FEB 2005
Copyright © 1976 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Journal of Morphology
Volume 149, Issue 4, pages 437–458, August 1976
How to Cite
Emerson, S. B. (1976), Burrowing in frogs. J. Morphol., 149: 437–458. doi: 10.1002/jmor.1051490402
- Issue published online: 6 FEB 2005
- Article first published online: 6 FEB 2005
More than 95% of burrowing Anura dig hindfeet first into the soil, a pattern unique to frogs among terrestrial vertebrates. The postero-laterally placed hindlimbs and associated musculature of frogs are preadaptations for hindfeet digging. One fossorial, backwards burrower, Glyphoglossus molossus (Microhylidae), has morphological modifications of the hindlimb for positioning the spade-like metatarsal tubercle and for increasing the force of the lower leg during digging.
In contrast, in the headfirst burrower Hemisus marmoratus (Ranidae) there is extensive reorganization of the pectoral-cranial morphology compared to that: of a non-burrowing confamilial species. A model links the shifts in the pectoral morphology in Hemisus marmoratus to specific action patterns of headfirst: burrowing.
Finally, data on stomach contents, natural history and energy utilization of frog species are presented to demonstrate the interrelationships of distinct loco. motor patterns with specific feeding strategies.