Skin toxin production of toads changes during early ontogeny but is not adjusted to the microbiota of the aquatic environment

János Ujszegi, A. Móricz, Dániel Krüzselyi, Attila Hettyey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

3 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Many animals display spectacular adjustments of their phenotype to changing environmental conditions in terms of altered behaviour, physiology and morphology, but whether similar plasticity in chemical defences is taxonomically widespread as well has remained unknown. Bufadienolides, toxins produced by some anuran amphibians, are known to be effective against many predators, but they can also contribute to defences against microorganisms. We experimentally investigated if qualitative and/or quantitative changes in the chemical defences of Bufo bufo tadpoles are induced by differences in the microbiota of their environment. We reared animals in purified tap water, or in pond water containing lowered or natural quantities of the natural microbiota, and measured the number of compounds and total quantity of bufadienolides at three ontogenetic stages during larval development, as well as 10 days after metamorphosis. We observed a significant decrease in the number of compounds, and a parallel increase in the total quantity of bufadienolides after metamorphosis, independent from treatments. The quantity of individual bufadienolide compounds also changed during ontogeny independently from treatments. Our results, thus, suggest that although bufadienolide production changes during early ontogeny, it is not adjusted to the microbiota present in the environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)925-936
Number of pages12
JournalEvolutionary Ecology
Volume31
Issue number6
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1 2017

Fingerprint

bufadienolides
chemical defense
toad
toads
aquatic environment
metamorphosis
ontogeny
skin (animal)
toxin
skin
toxins
animal
larval development
amphibian
physiology
plasticity
phenotype
pond
microorganism
environmental conditions

Keywords

  • Bufadienolide
  • Inducible defence
  • Natural microbiota
  • Opportunistic pathogen
  • Phenotypic plasticity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics

Cite this

Skin toxin production of toads changes during early ontogeny but is not adjusted to the microbiota of the aquatic environment. / Ujszegi, János; Móricz, A.; Krüzselyi, Dániel; Hettyey, Attila.

In: Evolutionary Ecology, Vol. 31, No. 6, 01.12.2017, p. 925-936.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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