Physiological control of water exchange in anurans

Lee A. Lemenager, Christopher R. Tracy, Keith A. Christian, C. Richard Tracy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Downloads (Pure)


Research on water exchange in frogs has historically assumed that blood osmotic potential drives water exchange between a frog and its environment, but here we show that the “seat patch” (the primary site of water exchange in many anurans), or other sites of cutaneous water uptake, act as an anatomic “compartment” with a water potential controlled separately from water potential of the blood, and the water potential of that compartment can be the driver of water exchange between the animal and its environment. We studied six frog species (Xenopus laevis, Rana pipiens, R. catesbeiana, Bufo boreas, Pseudacris cadaverina, and P. regilla) differing in ecological relationships to environmental water. We inferred the water potentials of seat patches from water exchanges by frogs in sucrose solutions ranging in water potential from 0 to 1000-kPa. Terrestrial and arboreal species had seat patch water potentials that were more negative than the water potentials of more aquatic species, and their seat patch water potentials were similar to the water potential of their blood, but the water potentials of venters of the more aquatic species were different from (and less negative than) the water potentials of their blood. These findings indicate that there are physiological mechanisms among frog species that can be used to control water potential at the sites of cutaneous water uptake, and that some frogs may be able to adjust the hydric conductance of their skin when they are absorbing water from very dilute solutions. Largely unexplored mechanisms involving aquaporins are likely responsible for adjustments in hydric conductance, which in turn, allow control of water potential at sites of cutaneous water uptake among species differing in ecological habit and the observed disequilibrium between sites of cutaneous water uptake and blood water potential in more aquatic species.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere8597
Pages (from-to)1-9
Number of pages9
JournalEcology and Evolution
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2022


Dive into the research topics of 'Physiological control of water exchange in anurans'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this