Get access

Morphology of the parotoid macroglands in Phyllomedusa leaf frogs


  • Editor: Andrew Kitchener


Carlos Jared, Laboratório de Biologia Celular, Instituto Butantan, Av. Vital Brazil, 1500, CEP: 05503-900 São Paulo, SP, Brazil. Tel/Fax: 55-11-26279772



The parotoid macroglands of toads (bufonids) and leaf frogs (hylids) are used in passive defence against predators. The parotoids release poison when the amphibian is bitten by a predator. Despite the apparent similarity, the anatomical and histological structure of these macroglands in hylids is poorly studied when compared with those of bufonids. In this paper, we focused on the morphology of the macroglands of P. distincta, a leaf frog endemic to the Brazilian Atlantic rainforest, comparing their structure with those of bufonids. In addition, we compared the macrogland morphology of P. distincta with those from major clades of Phyllomedusa. All results revealed a macrogland morphology in leaf frogs distinct from that of toads, suggesting that the term parotoid should be used only for those of bufonids.