Chondrocranial ontogeny of Pelodytes punctatus (Anura: Pelodytidae). Response to competition: geometric morphometric and allometric change analysis


Núria Garriga, Departament de Biologia Animal, Facultat de Biologia, Universitat de Barcelona. Av. Diagonal, 645 08028 Barcelona, Spain.


Garriga, N. and Llorente, G.A. 2011. Chondrocranial Ontogeny of Pelodytes punctatus (Anura: Pelodytidae). Response to competition: Geometric Morphometric and Allometric Change Analysis. —Acta Zoologica (Stockholm) 93: 453–464.

The chondrocranial development of Pelodytes punctatus is described, from tadpole to froglet, and compared with that of other taxa reported previously, such as species in the Pelobatidae, Pipidae, Ranidae, Hylidae, Bombinatoridae, Leptodactylidae, or Microhylidae families. The comparison leads us to suggest that the ontogeny of the anuran chondrocranium is very conservative, making it difficult to discern phylogenetic or ecologic patterns. Chondrocranial development is also analyzed to quantify shape changes and allometries during ontogeny, using linear and geometric morphometrics. The main shape change observed follows the general pattern of vertebrate postnatal development. The allometric analysis indicates the presence of different functional units in the chondrocranium that could be subjected to different pressures. Finally, tadpoles were raised in two conditions of competition to compare their chondrocranium development. The largest shape differences between the two conditions are located in the anterior region of the cranium and fit the general response to competition stress by increasing growth rate. Comparison of the scaling pattern between Pelodytes and Rana sylvatica and Bufo americanus shows differences, principally in the oral region, that do not fit with the general allometric pattern in larval anurans proposed in previous studies.