Tentacle development in dermophis mexicanus (amphibia, gymnophiona) with an hypothesis of tentacle origin



The development of the tentacle, a chemosensory and perhaps tactile structure unique among vertebrates to gymnophione amphibians is described in Dermophis mexicanus and Gymnopis multiplicata. The tentacle is associated with the vomeronasal organ and its glands, and utilizes several structures usually associated with the eye, such as the Harderian gland, the retractor and levator muscles, and their nerves. Innervation of the tentacle itself is from the trigeminal nerve. We present an hypothesis that the tentacle originated from modified eye components.