Gland composition in sexually dimorphic skin structures of two species of Hylid frogs: Plectrohyla guatemalensis and Ptychohyla hypomykter: supplementary material
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Secondary sexual characters form a diverse group of traits widely spread in amphibians. Within anurans, the Hylini tribe represents an interesting group to examine the evolution of this type of characters because it has different skin structure modifications including ventrolateral glands, nuptial pads, and unique swollen upper lips. We analysed the skin gland composition in the upper lip of Plectrohyla guatemalensis and the ventrolateral gland of Ptychohyla hypomykter (Hylidae: Hylinae: Hylini). Each of these species is characterized by a different type of sexually dimorphic skin gland; specialized mucous glands (SMGs) in Pl. guatemalensis and specialized serous glands (SSGs) in Pt. hypomykter. The SMGs conform to the general type of sexually dimorphic skin glands in amphibians, whereas SSGs are very rare. Because SMGs are likely involved in the production of sexual pheromones, their distinctive location and their co-occurrence with other secondary sexual characters like long and pointed maxillary and premaxillary teeth in Pl. guatemalensis suggests that the system used for their delivery may be a distinguishing behavioral feature in this species. The presence of both types of glands in Pt. hypomykter (SMGs in nuptial pads, and SSGs in ventrolateral glands) suggests a different or, at least, a complementary role of these two types of glands during reproduction.