Tongue and Taste Organ Development in the Ontogeny of Direct-Developing Salamander Plethodon Cinereus (Lissamphibia: Plethodontidae)

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The latest research on direct developing caecilian and anuran species indicate presence of only one generation of taste organs during their ontogeny. This is distinct from indirect developing batrachians studied thus far, which possess taste buds in larvae and anatomically distinct taste discs in metamorphs. This study is a description of the tongue and taste organ morphology and development in direct developing salamander Plethodon cinereus (Plethodontidae) using histology and electron microscopy techniques. The results reveal two distinct stages tongue morphology (primary and secondary), similar to metamorphic urodeles, although only one stage of taste organ morphology. Taste disc sensory zones emerge on the surface of the oropharyngeal epithelium by the end of embryonic development, which coincides with maturation of the soft tongue. Taste organs occur in the epithelium of the tongue pad (where they are situated on the dermal papillae), the palate and the inner surface of the mandible and the maxilla. Plethodon cinereus embryos only possess taste disc type taste organs. Similar to the direct developing anuran Eleutherodactylus coqui (Eleutherodactylidae), these salamanders do not recapitulate larval taste bud morphology as an embryo. The lack of taste bud formation is probably a broadly distributed feature characteristic to direct developing batrachians.


Original version available form the publisher at: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/jmor.20544/abstract



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