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Functional Morphology of the Jaw Apparatus of Larval and Metamorphosing Rana Temporaria L

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image of Netherlands Journal of Zoology
For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Animal Biology (Vol 53 and onwards).

1. The development of the cartilaginous neurocranium and viscerocranium, osteocranium, oral and gill cavities, mandibular and hyoid musculature, and head ligaments is described during the metamorphic climax in Rana temporaria L. The description, based on graphical reconstructions from serial sections, also includes the displacement of the heart. 2. A preliminary functional analysis, based on cinematography, was made of the mechanisms of ingestion and aquatic respiration and of the pattern of muscular activity. 3. During metamorphosis the mandibular and hyoid muscles are completely reorganized histologically and the larval muscle fibres are replaced with new ones. Most of the muscles change their places of attachment in connection with functional requirements of the postmetamorphic mechanisms of feeding and respiration. Yet the functions of the muscles and the co-ordination of muscular activity are basically similar in larva and adult. The positions of many muscles are suboptimal as a result of compromises between functional requirements of muscles and of other structures. 4. Muscle attachments to cartilage are tangential, or at a sharp angle in some musculous attachments. As a rule the shape, sculpture, and structure of the cartilage are not influenced by the muscle attachments, but in a few situations the presence of skeletal elements may be explained from the functional requirements of muscles. 5. Changes in the shape of the cerebral capsule and auditory capsule are limited, but extensive remodeling of the viscerocranium occurs in connection with functional requirements of the adult feeding mechanism and with the termination of filter feeding and gill respiration. 6. The order of appearance of the bony elements is correlated with functional demands. During metamorphosis there is only slight erosion of the chondrocranium associated with the development of the osteocranium. Chondrocytes from eroded cartilage dedifferentiate. 7. In cases of substitution of functions during metamorphosis new elements usually develop before the larval elements are reduced (e.g., the respiratory organs). In other systems there is a gradual remodeling, with temporary loss or reduced efficiency of functions (e.g., in the mechanism of ingestion). 8. The results are consistent with the view that larval specializations have arisen secondarily in phylogeny and that in ancestral Anura morphological similarity between larva and adult was greater than in the majority of recent forms. Metamorphosis probably arose gradually, becoming increasingly complex as larval adaptations developed.

Affiliations: 1: Zoological Laboratory, University of Leiden, The Netherlands


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