PONSSA maria laura
Tendinous framework of anurans reveals an all-purpose morphology
FRATANI, JÉSSICA; PONSSA, MARÍA LAURA; ABDALA, VIRGINIA
Tendons are directly associated with movement, amplifying power and reducing muscular work. Taking into account habitat and locomotor challenges faced by anurans, we identify the more conspicuous superficial tendons of a neotropical anuran group and investigate their relation to the former factors. We show that tendons can be visualized as an anatomical framework connected through muscles and/or fascia, and describe the most superficial tendinous layer of the postcranium of Leptodactylus latinasus. To analyze the relation between tendon morphology and ecological characters, we test the relative length ratio of 10 tendon?muscle (t-m) elements in 45 leptodactylid species while taking phylogeny into account. We identify the evolutionary model that best explains our variables. Additionally, we optimize t-m ratio values, and the shape of the longissimus dorsi insertion onto a selected phylogeny of the species. Our data show the existence of an all-purpose morphology that seems to have evolved independently of ecology and functional requirements. This is indicated by no significant relation between morphometric data of the analyzed tendons and habitat use or locomotion, a strong phylogenetic component to most of the analyzed variables, and a generalized pattern of intermediate values for ancestral states. Ornstein-Uhlenbeck is the model that best explains most t-m variables, indicating that stabilizing selection or selective optima might be driving shifts in tendon length within Leptodactylidae. Herein, we show the substantial influence that phylogeny has on tendon morphology, demonstrating that a generalized and stable morphological configuration of tendons is adequate to enable versatile locomotor mode and habitat use. This is an attempt to present the tendinous system as a framework to body support in vertebrates, and can be considered a starting point for further ecomorphological research of this anatomical system in anurans.