A Comparative Study of the Form and Evolutionary Implications of the Interdigital Membrane of Larval Hynobiid Salamanders

K. Iizuka, S. K. Sessions, S. Yasugi, T. Nakazato, Y. Takeuchi


A comparative study explored limb development among Japanese hynobiid salamanders including both those with pond-type larvae (Hynobius lichenatus, Hynobius nigrescens, Hynobius tokyoensis) and those with stream-type larvae (Hynobius kimurae, Onychodactylus japonicus). Within the genus Hynobius, all species with the pond-type larva have early limb development characterized by the transient formation of an interdigital membrane (IM). The IM is completely absent in O. japonicus, and present as a vestigial IM in species of Hynobius that have stream-type larvae. Our observations, along with available information about other hynobiid and non hynobiid salamanders, indicate that 1) the IM is probably characteristic of cryptobranchoid salamanders, 2) the IM has an adaptive value in pond habitats but not in stream habitats, and 3) the IM has been reduced or lost two or three times independently within the Cryptobranchoidea. This pattern also suggests that within the genus Hynobius, species with stream-type larvae are derived relative to pond-type species.


limb development; salamander larva; interdigital membrane; pond-type; stream-type; Cryptobranchus; Hynobius; Onychodactylus

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.30906/1026-2296-2005-12-0-279-285


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