Staff Publications

Staff Publications

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    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

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Record number 552223
Title Comparative and functional analysis of the digital mucus glands and secretions of tree frogs
Author(s) Langowski, Julian K.A.; Singla, Saranshu; Nyarko, Alex; Schipper, Henk; Berg, Frank T. van den; Kaur, Sukhmanjot; Astley, Henry C.; Gussekloo, Sander W.S.; Dhinojwala, Ali; Leeuwen, Johan L. van
Source Frontiers in Zoology 16 (2019). - ISSN 1742-9994
DOI https://doi.org/10.1186/s12983-019-0315-z
Department(s) Experimental Zoology
WIAS
WIAS
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2019
Keyword(s) Cryo-histochemistry - Hyla cinerea - Infrared spectroscopy - Lubrication - Macrogland - Mucosubstance - Sum frequency generation spectroscopy - Synchrotron micro-computer-tomography - Wet adhesion
Abstract

Background: Mucus and mucus glands are important features of the amphibian cutis. In tree frogs, the mucus glands and their secretions are crucial components of the adhesive digital pads of these animals. Despite a variety of hypothesised functions of these components in tree frog attachment, the functional morphology of the digital mucus glands and the chemistry of the digital mucus are barely known. Here, we use an interdisciplinary comparative approach to analyse these components, and discuss their roles in tree frog attachment.

Results: Using synchrotron micro-computer-tomography, we discovered in the arboreal frog Hyla cinerea that the ventral digital mucus glands differ in their morphology from regular anuran mucus glands and form a subdermal gland cluster. We show the presence of this gland cluster also in several other - not exclusively arboreal - anuran families. Using cryo-histochemistry as well as infrared and sum frequency generation spectroscopy on the mucus of two arboreal (H. cinerea and Osteopilus septentrionalis) and of two terrestrial, non-climbing frog species (Pyxicephalus adspersus and Ceratophrys cranwelli), we find neutral and acidic polysaccharides, and indications for proteinaceous and lipid-like mucus components. The mucus chemistry varies only little between dorsal and ventral digital mucus in H. cinerea, ventral digital and abdominal mucus in H. cinerea and O. septentrionalis, and between the ventral abdominal mucus of all four studied species.

Conclusions: The presence of a digital mucus gland cluster in various anuran families, as well as the absence of differences in the mucus chemistry between arboreal and non-arboreal frog species indicate an adaptation towards generic functional requirements as well as to attachment-related requirements. Overall, this study contributes to the understanding of the role of glands and their secretions in tree frog attachment and in bioadhesion in general, as well as the evolution of anurans.

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