Diversity in the Timing of Digit Ossification within the Limb Developmental Bauplan in Caudata

J. R. Hinchliffe, E. I. Vorobyeva, D. N. Mednikov


At the early prechondrogenic stage, within an overall common developmental bauplan, the larval urodele limb provides examples of variation in pattern some of which may be classified as caenogenetic or heterochronic, in some cases clearly adaptive. Comparison of ossification pattern in larval limb development has been relatively neglected. The sequence of ossification along the fore and hindlimb digits was examined in Salamandrella keyserlingii, Onychodactylus fisheri, Triturus vulgaris, and Triturus vittatus. In Onychodactylus and Triturus vittatus in almost all digits the ossification sequence is proximo-distal as in the chondrogenic sequence. In Salamandrella the normal sequence is also proximo-distal, but in the digits of a number of variants the sequence is distal-proximal. In Triturus vulgaris, the sequence is distal-proximal. These differences appear unrelated to phyletic relations or to ecological niche, whether this is rheophilic (Onychodactylus) or limnophilic. The variety of normal sequences together with the frequency of individual variation suggests that the ossification sequence may not be tightly controlled. But the varied patterns of chondrogenesis and digit ossification illustrate the dynamic and varied character of the developmental bauplan of the caudate limb.


Salamandrella keyserlingii; Onychodactylus fisheri; Triturus vulgaris; Triturus vittatus; larval limb development

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.30906/1026-2296-2005-12-0-274-278


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