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Comparative Anatomy notes

Submitted by jjaneiro on Wed, 10/04/2017 - 10:08

Gymnophiona is a clade of amphibians closely related to frogs and salamanders, resembling snakes. The word "Gymnophiona" is derived from Greek, "gymnos" meaning "naked", and "ophis" meaning "snake". Therefore, Gymnophiona translates to "naked snake" in Greek. Certain species in Gymnophiona have offspring that engage in dermophagy, or skin-eating. The mother of these species will produce extra epidermis tissue so that when her offspring are born they can eat her skin as means of obtaining nutrients in the early days of their life. This is an evolutionary adaptation of the epidermis and dermis that allows for better chance of survival of the offspiring. In conditions where exterior food sources are limited or non-existent, this adaptation provides a mode of survival in dire conditions.    

Another type of amphibian that has an epidermal-dermal adaptation is Gyrhinophilus porphyriticus, or the spring salamander. This species of salamander breathes through its skin. It is able to do this by having highly vascularized dermal tissue and living in a moist environment. Spring salamanders belong to a family called Plethodontidae, or the "lungless" salamanders. Becuase these species breathe through their skin, they lack lungs completely.