Life and Medical Sciences
Cell & Developmental Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
The digital disks of the tree frogs are covered ventrally with a superficial layer of vertically elongated, fibrous, and distally free cells between which there empty a series of convoluted mucous glands. The latter are surrounded and, in the larger-disked species, divided into blocks by sheets of collagenous fibers. The glands are emptied by the squeezing together of the collagenous fibers when the body weight exerts a pull on the terminal phalanges. The disks function by friction, cohesion, and adhesion.The digital-disk apparatus was fully established before certain groups of frogs became arboreal. It is retained in others which have reverted to the terrestrial habit. The intercalary cartilage increases the efficiency of the apparatus. It did not arise in phylogeny until after the apparatus was developed.As the digital disks vary in extent in both arboreal and terrestrial species, arborealism seems to have resulted from a chance occurrence of large disks in the smaller-bodied forms; at least, there is no progressive modification of the digits toward particular habitat requirements.The subarticular tubercles of many Salientia develop typical climbing apparatus. This may or may not be correlated with an arboreal habit. In the species with the largest subarticular tubercles no apparatus is present. Arboreal salamanders exhibit no special climbing mechanism, but adhere by pressing their moist integument against the substratum.
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