Title

The structure of the túngara frog’s ears

Poster Number

32

Lead Author Major

Pre-Dentistry

Format

Poster Presentation

Faculty Mentor Name

Marcos Gridi-Papp

Faculty Mentor Department

Biological Sciences

Abstract/Artist Statement

Male túngara frogs call to attract females. While the male calls floating on the surface of the water, the female approaches him first on land and later in water, with her ears submerged just below the surface. Sound must travel and be detected in two mediums – air and water – before the female reaches the male. This is uncommon because most other frogs call from land and females can use airborne sound only to find the male. The ear morphology of the túngara frog might, therefore, have adaptations for the change in mediums experienced by the female during her approach of the male. To examine the morphology of the ear, we preserved the tissue of a frog’s head in paraformaldehyde and embedded it in glycol methacrylate resin. After the resin hardened into a block, we sliced it into 4 μm cuts, and mounted the cuts onto glass slides. Next, we stained the tissues with a solution of toluidine blue to facilitate visualization of the auditory morphology. We photographed the stained cuts and aligned the images to create a three-dimensional image and make quantitative comparisons between ears cut at slightly different orientations. Our preliminary data indicate that túngara frogs have relatively thick eardrums and an expanded extrastapes, which are features also found in animals like the African clawed frog, in which adults communicate underwater all the time. These features could potentially have a role in facilitating underwater hearing. We are currently preparing to test this hypothesis through experiments and comparison with close relatives of the túngara frog that call from land.

Location

DeRosa University Center, Ballroom

Start Date

25-4-2015 10:00 AM

End Date

25-4-2015 12:00 PM

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Apr 25th, 10:00 AM Apr 25th, 12:00 PM

The structure of the túngara frog’s ears

DeRosa University Center, Ballroom

Male túngara frogs call to attract females. While the male calls floating on the surface of the water, the female approaches him first on land and later in water, with her ears submerged just below the surface. Sound must travel and be detected in two mediums – air and water – before the female reaches the male. This is uncommon because most other frogs call from land and females can use airborne sound only to find the male. The ear morphology of the túngara frog might, therefore, have adaptations for the change in mediums experienced by the female during her approach of the male. To examine the morphology of the ear, we preserved the tissue of a frog’s head in paraformaldehyde and embedded it in glycol methacrylate resin. After the resin hardened into a block, we sliced it into 4 μm cuts, and mounted the cuts onto glass slides. Next, we stained the tissues with a solution of toluidine blue to facilitate visualization of the auditory morphology. We photographed the stained cuts and aligned the images to create a three-dimensional image and make quantitative comparisons between ears cut at slightly different orientations. Our preliminary data indicate that túngara frogs have relatively thick eardrums and an expanded extrastapes, which are features also found in animals like the African clawed frog, in which adults communicate underwater all the time. These features could potentially have a role in facilitating underwater hearing. We are currently preparing to test this hypothesis through experiments and comparison with close relatives of the túngara frog that call from land.