Integumentary structure and its relationship to wiping behaviour in the common Indian tree frog, Polypedates maculatus

Authors


  • 1

    Department of Zoology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611, U.S.A.

Department of Zoology, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida 32611, U.S.A.

Abstract

Skin of the Indian tree frog, Polypedates maculatus (Rhacophoridae), was studied in the context of self-wiping behaviour which functions to expel and distribute cutaneous secretions recently shown to retard evaporative water loss. The secretions contain both mucus and lipids and are derived from a common gland considered to be homologous with characteristic anuran mucous glands. The glands are bipotent and secrete both mucus and lipoid products which are evidently mixed within the glandular lumen. Another type of gland resembling characteristic anuran serous (or granular) glands is found in dorsal but not ventral skin, whereas the lipid-secreting mucous glands are found in skin associated with all body surfaces. There is no distinct, lipid-secreting gland present in the skin of this species other than the mucous glands. These histochemical data complement the earlier finding that resistance to evaporative water loss in this species is relatively small compared with phyllomedusine 'waterproof frogs which also exhibit wiping behaviour associated with secretion of lipids. Thus, wiping behaviour may have evolved in association with mucous secretions before dominant lipoid secretions resulted from strong selection for water conservation.

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