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According to Labonte et al. Both solutions are unfeasible from an anatomical point of view. Dynamic adhesion must be strong enough to avoid falling as well as weak enough to enable the animal to move. A great diversity of dynamic adhesion strategies has been studied. A liquid substance comes into play. Smooth adhesive pads : this mechanism is found in ants, bees, cockroaches and grasshoppers, for example.

The last segment of their legs pretarsus , their claws or their tibiae present one or several soft and extremely deformable pads like the arolia located in the pretarsus. No surface is completely smooth at microscale, so these pads conform to the shape of surface irregularities thanks to their softness.


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Hairy adhesive pads : these structures are found in beetles and flies, among others. These pads are covered by a dense layer of hair-like structures, the setae , which increase the surface of the leg in contact with the surface. A thin layer of fluid consisting of a hydrophilic and a hydrophobic phase located between the pad and substrate comes into play in both strategies.

Studies carried out with ants show that the ends of their legs secrete a thin layer of liquid that increases the contact between the pretarsus and the surface, filling the remaining gaps and acting as an adhesive under both capillarity surface tension and viscosity principles. Want to learn more about this mechanism in insects?

Then do not miss the following video about ants! Arboreal or tree frog smooth toe pads are made of columnar epithelial cells separated from each other at their apices. Mucous glands open between them and secrete a mucous substance that fill the intercellular spaces.

Having the cells separated enable the pad to conform to the shape of the surface and channels that surround each epithelial cell allow to spread mucus over the pad surface to guarantee the adhesion. These channels also allow to remove surplus water under wet conditions that could make frogs to slide most tree frogs live in rainforests. In the next video , you can see in detail the legs of one of the most popular tree frogs:. Smooth toe pads of tree frogs are similar to those found in insects.

Amphibian graph- phenomenon of fatigue

In fact, crickets have a hexagonal microstructure reminiscent of the toe pads of tree frogs. This led Barnes to consider the wet adhesion mechanism as one of the most successful adhesion strategies. The most detailed studies on possums have been carried out about the feathertail glider Acrobates pygmaeus , a mouse-sized marsupial capable to climb up sheets of glass using their large toe pads.

These pads are conformed by multiple layers of squamous epithelium with alternated ridges and grooves that allow them to conform to the shape of the surface and that are filled with sweat , the liquid this small mammal use to adhere to surfaces. The adhesion of both spiders and geckos depends on the same principle: the Van der Waals forces. Unlike insects, tree frogs and possums, these organisms do not secrete sticky substances.

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Physiology Amphibia - AbeBooks

Van der Waals forces are distance-dependent interactions between atoms or molecules that are not a result of any chemical electronic bond. These interactions show up between setae from footpads of geckos which are covered by folds, the lamellae and setae from spider paws which are covered with dense tufts of hair, the scopulae , and the surface they walk on. However, recent studies suggest dry adhesion in geckos is not mainly lead by Van der Waals forces, but by electrostatic interactions different polarity between setae and surface , after confirming that their sticking capacity decreased when trying to climb a sheet of low energetic material, like teflon.

Anyway, the ability of geckos to climb is impressive. Check this video of the great David Attenborough :. Disk-winged bats family Thyropteridae , native to Central America and northern South America, have disk-shaped suction pads located at the base of their thumbs and on the sole of their feet that allow them to climb smooth surfaces. Inside these disks, the internal pressure is reduced, and the bat stick to the surface by suction.

Main picture by unknown author. Source: link. Even if the word amphibious is an adjective used to describe animals that can live both on land and water, in the case of amphibians it also refers to both life stages through which these animals go through, as amphibians are born in an aquatic larval stage and become adults via a process of metamorphosis. Metamorphosis is present in the three lissamphibian orders. This process was already present in the first terrestrial tetrapods, which had to lay their eggs in water.

As a general rule, lissamphibians lay their eggs in water. In most species, aquatic larvae will hatch from gelatinous eggs, even if their morphology varies a lot between different species. Yet larvae of all lissamphibians present a set of common characteristics:. During metamorphosis, most structures useful during the larval stage are reabsorbed through apoptosis, a controlled cell death process.

In many cases this process is highly conditioned by various environmental factors such as population density, food availability and the presence of certain chemical substances in water. At the hormonal level, metamorphosis is characterized by the interaction between two kinds of hormones: thyroid hormones and prolactin.

Physiology of the Amphibia

While the thyroid hormones as thyroxin secreted by the thyroid gland stimulate the metamorphosis process, prolactin secreted by the pituitary gland or hypophysis inhibits it. This is the larval growth stage, and it lasts around the first 20 days of life depending on the species. This stage is characterized by a low secretion of thyroidal hormones and by a high concentration of prolactin that inhibits the metamorphosis process.

Finally, thyroxin levels will start to be restored by a negative feedback system of the thyroxin over the hypothalamus and the hypophysis. During the metamorphosis process, larvae will go through a set of anatomical changes that will allow them to acquire their adult form. Some changes common to most species are the acquisition of eyelids and new retinal pigments, the reabsorption of the gills and the loss of the lateral line. Other morphological changes vary among the different orders.

For example in caecilians order Apoda larvae already look like miniature adults but with external gills. Also, most caecilians present internal metamorphosis and the hatchlings have no trace of gills. Larvae are pretty similar to adults, as their limbs develop quickly, although they present external filamentous gills, have no eyelids and present a largely-developed caudal fin.

Yet the great diversity of salamanders and newts gives as a result a great variety of life cycles; from viviparous species that give live birth, to neotenic species that keep larval characteristics through their adult stage.

Amphibian Physiology

Frogs and toads order Anura are the group in which metamorphic changes are more dramatic. Even if tadpoles are born with external gills, these are soon covered by skin folds that form a gill chamber. Also, tadpoles have a round, limbless body and a long, vertically-flattened tail, which allows them to swim swiftly in water. One of the main differences between adult and larval anurans is their diet. This is reflected in their spirally-shaped and extremely long digestive system in order to allow them to digest large quantities of vegetal matter.

Tadpoles are tireless eating machines, with some filter-feeding species being able to filter eight times their body volume of water per minute. After metamorphosis, tadpoles will reabsorb their gills and tail, their digestive system will shorten, and will develop limbs and lungs, becoming small amphibians prepared for a life on land.

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As we have seen, the metamorphosis process varies greatly among the different species of each order. This process results in the fact that that most lissamphibians spend a part of their lives in water and the other on land, a representative fact of the transition of the first tetrapods from the aquatic to the terrestrial medium. The following sources have been consulted during the elaboration of this entry:.

Anurans are the amphibian order with the greatest vocal abilities. Practically all species make different kinds of calls which they use to communicate and transmit information to their own kind. Anuran calls originate when the air passes from the lungs through the larynx where the vocal cords are found.

Lissamphibians must pump air to their lungs to breath although they also breathe through their skin and in most frogs the call is generated during exhalation.

Amphibian Physiology

Most frogs and toads also present vocal sacs that amplify the sound of their calls, some of which can be heard up to one kilometre away. Anurans may have one vocal sac in their throat, or two vocal sacs in the corners of their mouth.

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To emit their famous calls they must have their mouths and nasal openings closed, to direct the air to the vocal sacs. Even if some species do not have vocal sacs, most species emit calls in some form or another. Toads and frogs use their calls for one main reason: to mate. In anurans singing is a method to distinguish animals of their own species, to help males and females find each other and to detect receptive individuals.