Table of Contents
ISRN Zoology
Volume 2012, Article ID 725203, 16 pages
Review Article

Coloration of Anuran Tadpoles (Amphibia): Development, Dynamics, Function, and Hypotheses

1Insitute for Imaging and Analytical Technologies, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA
2Department of Biological Sciences, Mississippi State University, Mississippi State, MS 39762, USA

Received 27 September 2012; Accepted 15 October 2012

Academic Editors: K. Cheng, K. Lunau, and K. E. Ruckstuhl

Copyright © 2012 Giselle Thibaudeau and Ronald Altig. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Colorations of anuran tadpoles surely function in many of the same ways that have been ascribed to color and pattern in other animals, but the paucity of data forces one to look to other groups to generate hypotheses. Such an action often occurs because of the difficulty of defining specific fitness parameters to larval forms. The commonly muted colorations of tadpoles are typically considered to function only in some form of crypsis, but we discuss other functions in the particular context of behavioral ecology and changes induced by various kinds of coinhabitants. We review the development, terminology, diversity, and functions of coloration in tadpoles and then pose various questions for future research. We strongly support a broad-based perspective that calls for an integration of several fields of research.