Zoological Studies

Vol. 59, 2020

(update: 2020.10.13; 10.30)

Pattern of Gonadal Sex Differentiation in the Rice Field Frog Hoplobatrachus rugulosus (Anura: Dicroglossidae)

Thrissawan Traijitt1,2, Noppadon Kitana2,3, and Jirarach Kitana2,3,*


1Biological Sciences Program, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand. E-mail: thriss_awan@hotmail.com (Traijitt)
2Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand. E-mail: noppadon.k@chula.ac.th (N. Kitana)
3BioSentinel Research Group (Special Task Force for Activating Research), Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Chulalongkorn University, Bangkok 10330, Thailand. *Correspondence: E-mail: jirarach.s@chula.ac.th (Kitana). Tel: +662-218-5253.

Received 29 July 2019 / Accepted 27 August 2020
Communicated by Benny K.K. Chan

Sex differentiation during gonadal development is diversified among anuran amphibian species. In this study, the anuran experimental species Hoplobatrachus rugulosus was examined. The pattern of gonadal sex differentiation was observed by morphological and histological approaches. The gonad was observed morphologically at Gosner stage 33, while distinct testis and ovary were evident from 3–4 weeks after metamorphosis ended. Histological analysis showed that genital ridge formation began at stage 25 and ovarian differentiation began at stage 36. The developing ovary appeared with numerous primary oogonia, which developed into oocytes, while the medulla regressed to form an ovarian cavity. During metamorphosis, only an ovary was observed. Testicular differentiation seemed to begin later, during the first week after metamorphosis, and occurred via an intersex condition. The intersex gonads contained developing testicular tissue with both normal and atretic oocytes. The fully developed testis was first identified at 6 weeks after metamorphosis. Comparing the times of gonadal differentiation and somatic development revealed that the ovary exhibited a basic rate of differentiation while the testis exhibited a retarded one. These results establish that males of this species develop later than do females, and the testis develops through an intersex gonad, as is evident from its seminiferous cord formation, the presence of testis-ova, and atretic oocytes in the tissue. Thus, the pattern of gonadal sex differentiation in H. rugulosus is an undifferentiated type, in which only female gonads are observed during metamorphosis and intersex and male gonads are observed later. These results are crucial for further research on the sexual development of anurans.

Key words: Gonad, Sex differentiation, Development, Anuran, Hoplobatrachus rugulosus.

Citation: Traijitt T, Kitana N, Kitana J. 2020. Pattern of gonadal sex differentiation in the rice field frog Hoplobatrachus rugulosus (Anura: Dicroglossidae). Zool Stud 59:51. doi:10.6620/ZS.2020.59-51.