May 22, 2020

Evolution of the unique anuran pelvic and hindlimb skeleton in relation to microhabitat, locomotor mode, and jump performance

Integrative and Comparative Biology
S M ButtimerM C Womack

Abstract

Anurans (frogs and toads) have a unique pelvic and hindlimb skeleton among tetrapods. Although their distinct body plan is primarily associated with saltation, anuran species vary in their primary locomotor mode (e.g., walkers, hoppers, jumpers, and swimmers) and are found in a wide array of microhabitats (e.g., burrowing, terrestrial, arboreal, and aquatic) with varying functional demands. Given their largely conserved body plan, morphological adaptation to these diverse niches likely results from more fine-scale morphological change. Our study determines how shape differences in Anura's unique pelvic and hindlimb skeletal structures vary with microhabitat, locomotor mode, and jumping ability. Using microCT scans of preserved specimens from museum collections, we added 3D landmarks to the pelvic and hindlimb skeleton of 230 anuran species. In addition, we compiled microhabitat and locomotor data from the literature for these species that span 52 of the 55 families of frogs and ~210 million years of anuran evolution. Using this robust dataset, we examine the relationship between pelvic and hindlimb morphology and phylogenetic history, allometry, microhabitat, and locomotor mode. We find pelvic and hindlimb changes associated wi...Continue Reading

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Mentioned in this Paper

Study
Biological Evolution
Adaptation
Array
Locomotion
Anura
Morphological
Finding
Hindlimb
Pelvis

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