Comparative Study of the Development of Limbs in Larvae of the Common Frog Rana temporaria (Amphibia: Anura) and in Salamandrella (Caudata)

Valentin G. Borkhvardt


The development of limbs in larvae of the common frog (Rana temporaria) was studied using a standard histological technique. In the anuran limb bud like in the urodele one the major central arteries extend along the medial and lateral (opposite) sides of the mesenchymal core. These arteries are periodically connected with each other by means of anastomoses that penetrate the mesenchymal core and divide it into the pre- and postaxial parts. The ulna (fibula) and radius (tibia), ulnare (fibulare) and radiale (tibiale), and digits III and IV are laid down on both sides of these medio-lateral anastomoses. This fact and some others support the idea that the stem blood vessels determine, at least in part, the arrangement of cartilaginous anlages in the limb bud. Digits of urodeles and anurans that have the same numbers in the traditional numeration system occupy a different position relatively to the central arteries. A new numeration system is proposed based on the notion of a zero digit, a digit that is the first to be laid down in ontogeny.


Amphibia; limb skeleton; limb blood vessels; morphogenesis

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