Functional analysis of frog pectoral girdles. The epicoracoid cartilages



Two types of pectoral girdles occur among frogs. Arciferal girdles have overlapping epicoracoid cartilages; in firmisternal girdles the epicoracoid cartilages are fused along the ventral midline. Cineradiographic experiments of jumping frogs show that the epicoracoid cartilages of arciferal girdles move relative to each other at the time of landing. Recordings of landings on a force platform reveal that the pectoral girdle of frogs is loaded compressively through the glenoid. This loading regime coupled with differential mobility between firmisternal and arciferal girdles results in differences in stress distribution in the two girdles during landing. The patterns of stress distribution suggest that variation seen among frogs in other aspects of pectoral morphology in addition to the condition of the epicoracoid cartilages may be best understood when analysed from a biomechanical perspective.