Title

Variability of Abdominal Skin Color Patterns in Tungara Frogs (Engystomopus postulosus)

Poster Number

22

Lead Author Major

Biological Sciences

Format

Poster Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Marcos Gridi-Papp

Faculty Mentor Department

Biological Sciences

Abstract/Artist Statement

Color patterns in skin, fur or feathers of vertebrates can be variable and support both individual identification and indicate their genetic variability. These applications are desirable in captive colonies of wild animals, allowing for non-invasive data collection. The long-term goal is to characterize the variability of skin patterns in captive tungara frogs and develop tools for identification in pedigreed populations and assessment of genetic variability. Tungara frogs pose a challenge, as tattooing, visible implant elastomers, waste bands and implantable transponders do not provide appropriate results. Toe clipping is effective, but a less invasive technique is preferred. Internal staining techniques are ineffective because its skin is heavily pigmented. Brown pigment dominates the back, but the ventral region presents a variable pattern of black and white. We focused on the color patterning of the abdominal skin, and photographed 100 individuals, representing three generations with 6 founders. Individuals present a longitudinal white stripe across the abdomen, and on each side, high contrast black patches over the white background. The sizes, shapes and connectivity are variable across broods, and the black patches are larger in females. The left and right side are more asymmetric in position than the size of the patches. The black and white contrast is lost by brown pigment masking on the thoracic sk in. Our results show that the abdominal skin color patterns exhibit multiple levels of highly variability tied to brood and sex, indicating a strong genetic basis, which could make this species a model for color patterning in amphibians.

Location

DeRosa University Center, Ballroom

Start Date

26-4-2014 2:00 PM

End Date

26-4-2014 4:00 PM

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Apr 26th, 2:00 PM Apr 26th, 4:00 PM

Variability of Abdominal Skin Color Patterns in Tungara Frogs (Engystomopus postulosus)

DeRosa University Center, Ballroom

Color patterns in skin, fur or feathers of vertebrates can be variable and support both individual identification and indicate their genetic variability. These applications are desirable in captive colonies of wild animals, allowing for non-invasive data collection. The long-term goal is to characterize the variability of skin patterns in captive tungara frogs and develop tools for identification in pedigreed populations and assessment of genetic variability. Tungara frogs pose a challenge, as tattooing, visible implant elastomers, waste bands and implantable transponders do not provide appropriate results. Toe clipping is effective, but a less invasive technique is preferred. Internal staining techniques are ineffective because its skin is heavily pigmented. Brown pigment dominates the back, but the ventral region presents a variable pattern of black and white. We focused on the color patterning of the abdominal skin, and photographed 100 individuals, representing three generations with 6 founders. Individuals present a longitudinal white stripe across the abdomen, and on each side, high contrast black patches over the white background. The sizes, shapes and connectivity are variable across broods, and the black patches are larger in females. The left and right side are more asymmetric in position than the size of the patches. The black and white contrast is lost by brown pigment masking on the thoracic sk in. Our results show that the abdominal skin color patterns exhibit multiple levels of highly variability tied to brood and sex, indicating a strong genetic basis, which could make this species a model for color patterning in amphibians.