Title

The morphology of a novel laryngeal cartilage in neotropical túngara frogs (Engystomops pustulosus)

Poster Number

9

Lead Author Affiliation

Biological Sciences

Lead Author Status

Masters Student

Second Author Affiliation

Biological Sciences

Second Author Status

Faculty

Introduction

Sound production in amphibians occurs within the larynx, a hollow organ which forms a passageway between the lungs and the oral cavity. Its cartilaginous framework consists of paired arytenoid cartilages and a single cricoid cartilage that together enclose the vocal cords. Past studies have revealed that in the genus of the túngara frog, the cartilaginous framework of the larynx is highly specialized. It has a greatly expanded cricoid cartilage, and previous studies in our lab indicate that it may even contain previously unknown cartilaginous structures.

Purpose

A more elaborate laryngeal structure could explain the complexity observed in the calls produced by the males of this species, therefore, the purpose of this project is to identify any structural features within the cartilaginous framework of the larynx that could contribute to the túngara frog's call complexity.

Method

In order to gain a deeper understanding of the cartilages within the larynx of the túngara frog, the larynges of several males were analyzed via dissection, resin histology, microtomography and three-dimensional modeling.

Results

Results confirm the presence of a novel laryngeal cartilage in túngara frogs. This cartilage lies medial to the medial edges of the arytenoid cartilages on the dorsal surface of the larynx. It is a rod-like, paired cartilage that spans the length of the glottal opening. Interactions between this novel cartilage and the surrounding laryngeal structures were investigated, exposing previously unknown connections with various internally-located laryngeal structures (e.g., the vocal folds) as well as the externally-located laryngeal musculature. These structural features raise testable hypotheses about the role laryngeal anatomy plays in call complexity.

Significance

Understanding the evolution of complex calling demands the identification of the structures contributing to sound complexity and an explanation of how they are controlled. Unveiling the structures used by túngara frogs to add complexity to their calls will help to shed new light on the origins of complexity in natural communication systems.

Location

DUC Ballroom A&B

Format

Poster Presentation

Poster Session

Afternoon

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Apr 29th, 1:00 PM Apr 29th, 3:00 PM

The morphology of a novel laryngeal cartilage in neotropical túngara frogs (Engystomops pustulosus)

DUC Ballroom A&B

Sound production in amphibians occurs within the larynx, a hollow organ which forms a passageway between the lungs and the oral cavity. Its cartilaginous framework consists of paired arytenoid cartilages and a single cricoid cartilage that together enclose the vocal cords. Past studies have revealed that in the genus of the túngara frog, the cartilaginous framework of the larynx is highly specialized. It has a greatly expanded cricoid cartilage, and previous studies in our lab indicate that it may even contain previously unknown cartilaginous structures.