Embryonic Development of the Musculo-skeletal System of the Madagascar Ground Gecko Paroedura pictus

Vergara, Miccaella

Smith-Paredes, Daniel

Bhullar, Bhart-Anjan

Department of Geology and Geophysics

Yale University

New Haven, CT


The embryonic development of the muscles, skeleton, nerves or other soft tissues of reptiles has been historically neglected in the literature. Romer (1944) or Walker (1947) described the development of the shoulder region of Lacerta and Chrysemys, respectively, but other examples are scarce. Here, we present a detailed study of the embryology of muscles, nerves and early skeletal tissues during the first half of the development of the Madagascar Ground Gecko (Paroedura pictus), a promising new model of lizard for developmental biology. Through the use of whole-mount immunofluorescence and confocal microscopy we studied the pattern of extension and splitting of muscles, branching of nerves and early development of endochondral bones. Studies like this, specially combining other kinds of methods like CT scanning, have the potential to provide understanding of the development of the whole anatomy of non-model organisms as never before. Comparison with other species of lizards or vertebrates could also provide new insight into the homology of some anatomical structures and evolution of the whole clade.