News FocusSOCIETY FOR INTEGRATIVE AND COMPARATIVE BIOLOGY

Getting to the Guts of Tadpole Carnivory

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Science  21 Jan 2011:
Vol. 331, Issue 6015, pp. 280-281
DOI: 10.1126/science.331.6015.280-b

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Summary

Unlike most other frogs, Budgett's frog is a carnivore even as a tadpole, and its gut reflects this voracious lifestyle: It has a very large, well-defined stomach and a short intestine, quite the contrast from the long, winding tube of most tadpoles. A developmental biologist reported at the meeting that the inhibition of a single developmental signal—retinoic acid—can yield the carnivorelike gut morphology in a tadpole species that's normally mostly vegetarian. That suggests that it didn't take much for the Budgett's frog tadpole to evolve its unusual eating habits.