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External and Internal Anatomy Frog BIO 22L

Experiment 10


At the end of the experiment, you should be able to:

1. describe the appearance of various organs found in the frog,
2. name the organs that make up various systems of the frog
3. learn appropriate terms used in the dissection of an animal
4. familiarize the method of pithing

*Items that are in bold, italic, and underlined are materials that should be brought by the group on
the day of the experiment and not provided by the laboratory.

2 live medium-sized frog 6-10 pcs. dissecting pins

dissecting kit plastic storage bag

dissecting pan with wax scissors
towels compound and stereo/dissecting microscope


Members of the phylum Chordata are called chordates. In order for an animal to be
classified as a chordate, it should have the four key characteristics, although these characteristics
need not be present during the entire life cycle. A chordate is an animal that has, for at least some
stage of its life, a dorsal, hollow nerve chord; a notochord; pharyngeal pouches; and a tail that
extends beyond the anus. In the animal kingdom, ninety-nine percent of all chordates are placed
in the subphylum Vertebrata and are called as vertebrates. A vertebrate is a chordate that has a
strong supporting structure known as the vertebral column, or backbone.
In this experiment, the frog was chosen as an experimental animal to study the anatomy of
vertebrates. Frogs belong to the group called amphibians that live in water during their immature
years and live primarily on land during their adult years. The adult frog is a good example of the
body organization of vertebrates that live on land.
The major respiratory organ of adult frogs is their lungs which typically replaces their gills
as frogs grow old. The lungs appear as two spongy elongated bags located on both sides of the
heart. Other amphibians exchange gases with the environment through their skin.
In frogs, the circulatory system forms what is known as a double loop. The first loop carries
deoxygenated blood from the heart to the lungs and skin, and takes oxygen-rich blood from the
lungs and skin back to the heart. The second loop transports oxygen-rich blood from the heart to
the rest of the body and oxygen-poor blood from the body back to the heart. The frogs heart has
three major chambers. The two upper chambers are the atria, which collect blood from the veins.
Blood flows from the atria into the lower chamber, the ventricle. The muscular ventricle pumps
blood throughout the body through the arteries.
Frogs are also equipped with kidneys that filter wastes from the blood. The kidneys of frogs
are long dark organs embedded in the back wall. The excretory product travels through tubes
called ureters into the cloaca. From there, urine can be passed directly to the outside, or it may be
temporarily stored in a small urinary bladder just above the cloaca.
In the middle of the body cavity of the frog is the liver, the largest organ of the body. The
reddish-brown liver consists of two lobes with a smaller lobe between them .The liver produces
bile, which aids in the digestion of fats. It also stores food in the form of glycogen and the liver
also plays a role in detoxification. The stomach of frogs, where food is partially digested is
connected to the esophagus. The small intestine is the narrow tube leading away from the
stomach. Digestion is completed in the small intestine, as is most nutrient absorption. The small
External and Internal Anatomy Frog BIO 22L

intestine loops in tight coils down to the large intestine, a short wide tube. The large intestine
leads to the cloaca, a large sac that passes wastes out of the body.
The laboratory exercise will give emphasis on the external structures of frog. It is found to
be important to have a strong background of the external structures of the animal to be used in
dissection. In addition, knowledge of anatomical terminologies would be of great help in the
dissection process.

Before proceeding in the scrutiny of the external and internal structures of the frog, you should be
familiar with anatomic terms/terms of direction and movement used in the dissection process. Study the
table on anatomical terminologies and their definition for you to be guided and appreciate the dissection.

Table 6.1 Essential Terms of Direction and Movement and of Anatomy*

Terminology Definition
abduction (abd.) draws away from midline
adduction (add.) draws toward the midline
anterior (ant.) situated near or toward the front end
caudal referring to the tail
cranial (or cephalic) referring to the head
deep farther from the surface (in a solid form)
depressor that which lowers
distal (dist.) farther from the main mass of the body (or root)
dorsal (dors.) toward the rear, back
erector that which draws upward
epiphysis the extremity or head of a long bone
extension (ext.) straightening
external (extern.) outside (refers to wall of cavity or hollow form)
fascia fibrous envelopment of tissues
foramen hole, perforation
fossa shallow depression
flexion (flex.) bending or angulation
frontal (front.) vertical; at right angles to the sagittal
inferior (inf.) lower, farther from crown of head
insertion relatively movable part of a muscle attachment
internal (int.) inside (refers to wall of cavity or hollow form)
inverted (invert.) turned inward
joint connection between bones
lateral (lat.) farther from the midline (towards the sides)
* dextral the right side lateral direction
* sinistral the left side lateral direction
levator (lev.) that which raises
ligament fibrous tissue binding bones together
longitudinal (longit.) refers to long axis (e.g. from head to tail)
medial (med.) nearer to midline (or center plane)
median midway, being in the middle
midline divides body into a right and left side
midsagittal vertical plane at midline dividing body into right and left
oblique slanting
palmar (palm.) palm side of the hand
pectoral referring to the area related to the chest
pelvic referring to the area related to the hip region
peripheral near the surface of the body or organ
plantar (plant.) sole side of foot
posterior (post.) near toward the hind end
process projection (can be grasped with fingers)
pronator (pronat.) that which turns palm hand downward
proximal (prox.) nearer to limb or point of reference
rotator (rotat.) that which causes to revolve
sagittal (sagit.) vertical plane or section dividing body into right and left
shaft body of a long bone
sheath protective covering
sphincter that which regulates closing of aperture
superficial (superf.) nearer to surface (refers to solid form)
External and Internal Anatomy Frog BIO 22L

superior (sup.) upper, nearer to crown head

supinator (supinat.) that which turns palm of hand upward
suture interlocking of teeth-like ridge
symphysis union of right and left sides in the midline
tensor (tens.) that which draws tight
transverse (trans.) at right angle to long axis; body divided into upper and
lower parts
ventral (vent.) near or toward the belly
*Pansky, Ben at al. (1969). Review of Gross Anatomy. 2nd ed. USA: The McMillan Company.
A. Pithing

Hold the frog using your left hand. Using your pointing finger, hold down the head of the
frog via the snout. Locate the depression at the posterior part of the head, the midline
between the head and the body of the frog. Carefully insert the pithing needle into the
depression obliquely towards the frogs brain. Rotate the needle in circular motion (your aim
here to smash up the frogs brain). After, insert the needle in the depression, this time towards
the frogs vertebral column. The pithing is successful only if the frog is incapable of bodily
movements. The aim of pithing is to paralyze the frog. (Note: Your instructor will demonstrate
the proper frog pithing before you do it yourself!)

B. Identification of Sex of the Frogs under Study

To determine the frogs sex, look at the hand digits, or fingers, on its forelegs. A male frog
usually has thick pads (swollen) on its "thumbs," which is one external difference between the
sexes. Male frogs are also usually smaller than female frogs. Male frog is noted with the
presence of dark skin pigmentation concentrated near the angles of the lower jaw. On the
other hand, female frog is noted with lighter, diffused pigmentation on the ventral side near
the lower jaw. Female frogs usually do not have swollen thumbs.

C. External Anatomy of the Frog

The pithed frog will be used for external structure examination. Place the pithed frog in the
dissection pan with the dorsal side up. Note the general form of the frog and identify its body
regions and structures as described below.

The body region of the frog is divided into two regions: the axial and appendicular region.
The axial region is composed of the head and the trunk.

In the triangular head region, notice the most anterior portion, this called the snout. Pair of
slit-like opening immediately postero-dorsal to the snout is the external nares or nostrils.
These are continuous with the internal nares or choenae within the mouth. The large posterior
opening that extends posterolaterally up to the base of the head is the mouth. This is bordered
dorsally and ventrally by immovable dorsal and vental folds, respectively. Located posterior to
the nostrils and protrude on the dorso-lateral sides of the head is the eyes, composed the
immovable upper eyelid, which borders the dorsal side of the eyes and is usually thicker than
the lower eyelid (borders the ventral side of the eyes and is thinner and more movable than
the upper eyelid). Notice the thin and transparent structure continuous with the inner fold of
the lower eyelid that moistened the eye is nictitating membrane. This allows the frog to see
underwater. Located anterior to the eye along the median dorsal line is the brow spot (usually
small light-colored circular spot that may or may not be prominent due to numerous
pigmentation of the frogs skin. Behind each eye is an oval-shaped membrane known as the
tympanum or tympanic membrane, which serves as a covering of the eardrum and is
continuous to the buccal cavity.

In the trunk region, noticeable is the mid-dorsal line, which is a demarcation line at the
dorsal sidea reference point that divides the body symmetrically. Located about the middle
of the trunk is the humpdorsally elevated region that corresponds to the articulation of the
ilium pf the pelvic girdle and the transverse process of the sacral vertebrae. A common
External and Internal Anatomy Frog BIO 22L

opening of the digestive tract and the urogenital system is the cloaca, situated at the median
and posterior end of the trunk.

The frogs appendicaular region is composed of the forelimbs and the hind limbs. Fore
limbs refers to the appendages located at the anterior side of the bodyshorted in size
compared to the hind limbs. Each fore limb is made up of 4 digits and a rudimentary,
undeveloped fifth digit. The fore limb is used to raise or support the body when the frog is at
rest. The fore limbs are subdivided into parts (from proximal to distal): the upper arm, the
forearm (subdivided into: manus (hand), carpus (wrist), palm), and the phalanges or digits

Longer appendages of the frog located at the posterior side of the body are the hind limbs
adapted for jumping and swimming. Each fore limb is composed of five digits with a
rudimentary sixth prehallux found at the inner side of the foot. These distinct toes are
connected together by a membranous extension of the skin, the web. Foot is well-developed
with an elongated ankle. The hind limbs are subdivided into parts (from proximal to distal): the
thigh, the shank, the tarsus (ankle), the pes (foot), the sole and the phalanges or digits (toes).

D. Internal Anatomy of the Frog

D.1 Overview of the Internal Organs

Place the frog in the pan with the ventral side facing up. Pin the limbs to the wax in the
pan. Pick up the loose skin just above the anal opening using your forceps. Make an incision
through the raised skin. Cut the skin along the center of the body to the base of the head. Cut
laterally from the central cut to each of the limbs. Pins the skin flaps back from the body wall.
Make the same cuts through the muscle of the body wall as you did through the skin. Raise
the body wall with the scissors as you cut to avoid damaging the structure below. When you
reach the forelimbs, cut through the sternum. Pin back the muscle flaps to expose the internal
organs. In order to fully examine the internal structures, the eggs (present in females) and
fingerlike projections are removed (fat bodies).

Carefully lift the reddish-brown liver, with two large lobes and a smaller lobe in between
them. On the other side of the liver is the green sac called gall bladder. Locate the glottisa
small slit in the opening of the buccal cavity. Insert a probe into it and follow the probe where it
will meet a dead end, the stomach which appears as the oval whitish sac. Run your finger
over the pyloric valve until you reach the valve. Locate the reddish triangular organ in the
middle of the upper body. This internal organ is the heart. Identify the small pea-shaped organ
in the connective tissue near the small intestine. This organ is the spleen.

Locate the lungs by looking for the two spongy elongated bags found on both sides of the
heart. Observe the long, dark organs known as the kidneys embedded on the back walls of the
specimen. If your frog has eggs, it is a female ready for breeding. The egg-producing ovaries
appear as thin-walled gray fold tissue. The coiled white tube on each side of the kidneys is the
oviduct. This is a passage leading the eggs from the ovaries to the cloacae. For a male frog,
the two yellow bean-shaped testes are located next to the kidneys. Sperm reaches the cloacae
through the Wolffian duct. Now, carefully examine the parts that belong to the following organ
systems: respiratory, digestive, and urogenital system.

D.2 The Respiratory System

The following organs are included: the lungs, the lining of the mouth and skin. These
structures are moist with small blood vessels embedded to meet most of the frogs oxygen
demand. These organs help the frog to stay underwater in a longer period. During hibernation,
a significant decrease in the frogs metabolism is observed along with skin respiration to meet
the oxygen requirement.
External and Internal Anatomy Frog BIO 22L

The following parts of the frogs respiratory system are to be identified: the external
and internal nares, the olfactory canal (nasal), the buccal cavity, the glottis, the larynx or voice
boxlocated posterior to the glottis.

D.3 The Disgestive System

The system is divided into two main groups: the gastrointestinal tract or the alimentary
tract and the accessory organs. The former is a continuous tube running from the mouth to
anus, in which the following structures are included: the mouth, the pharynx, esophagus,
stomach, small intestine and large intestine. The later is composed of teeth, tongue, liver, gall
bladder and pancreas.
Open the mouth of the frog and study the covering and the floor of the mouth. Cut through
the joint between the upper and the lower jaw to expose the buccal cavity. The following parts
of the frogs digestive system are to be identified: the maxillary teeth; the sulcus marginalisa
pair of groove on the inner side of the maxillary teeth that receives the lower jaw when the
mouth is closed; the median subrostral fossaa prominent depression of the sulcus marginalis
at the anterior tip of the upper jaw; the lateral subrostal fossaa pair of depression of the
sulcus marginalis lateral to the pulvinars; the pulvinar rostralea pair of low elevations on
each side of the median subrostral fossa.; the orbital prominencedistinct two large rounded
bulges of the eyeball; the vomerine teeththe fine teeth projecting from the vomers in
between the internal nares; the Eustachian tubea pair of slit-like openings found medial to
the angles of the jawit leads to the cavity of the middle ear; the tuberculum prelingualea
prominent median elevation at the tip of the lower jawthis fits into the median subrostral
fossa when the mouth is closed; the prelingual fossadistinct two shallow depressions on each
side of tuberculum prelingual; the tongue; the vocal saca pair of slit-like opening on the floor
of the mouth near to the angle of the jawfound only in male frogs; the opening of esophagus
a large transverse slit, posterior to the laryngeal prominence; the laryngeal prominence
circular elevation anterior to the esophageal opening; and the glottis; the pharynxposterior
portion of the buccal cavity which opens into the esophagus; the esophagusa short tube that
connects the pharynx to the stomach; the stomach; the pylorusa constriction at the posterior
end of the stomach; the spleen; the gall bladder; the small intestineirregularly coiledthe
more anterior portion is the duodenum (wider and shorter), the more posterior, narrower and
longer coiled division of the small intestine is the ileumthe small intestine is suspended form
the dorsal body wall by the mesenterium; the large intestine; the cloaca; the anusa small
opening at the posterior end of the cloaca; the liver; and the pancreasa small elongated and
irregularly shaped gland located between the stomach and duodenum.

D.4 The Urogenital System

This system consists of the excretory and the reproductive systems. The elimination of
waste products of metabolism is for the excretory system, while the production of gametes
and secretion of sex hormones are for the reproductive system. The following parts of the
frogs urogenital system are to be identifiedfor the female reproductive system: the ovaries
paired, lobular, saccular organ on the ventral wall of the kidney, suspended from the dorsal
wall by mesovarium; the oviducts or Mullerian ducts; and the copora adiposa or fat bodiesfor
the male reproductive system: the testesa pair of elongated, yellowish structures on the
ventral surface of the kidney and is attached to the kidney by a mesochoirum; the vas
efferentiasmall, slender tubules lying on the mesochorium; the vasa deferentia or vas
deferensthe term given to the mesonephric duct for the passage of sperm; the vestigial
oviductsa non-functional pair of slender white wavy tubes, one along each side of
mesonephric duct which join posteriorly; and the fat bodies.
Push aside the visceral organs to expose the kidney. Slit the parietal peritoneum near the
vertebral column and identify the following organs included in the excretory system of the
frog: the kidneya pair of reddish, elongated, and flattened organ which is line ventrally by
the parietal peritoneum; the adrenal glandsa pair of yellowish, irregularly-shaped gland
located on the ventral surface of the kidney; the mesonephric ducta pair of slender, straight
white tubes on the postero-lateral edge of the kidney, which conducts waste products from the
External and Internal Anatomy Frog BIO 22L

kidney to the cloaca; the urinary bladdera bilobed sac on the ventral surface of the cloaca
that serves as temporary storage of urine; and the cloaca.

NAME (SN, GN, MI):_____________________________ DATE PERFORMED: ___________________________

SUBJECT/SECTION: _____________________________ DATE SUBMITTED: ____________________________
INSTRUCTOR: _________________________________ RATING: ____________________________________

Report for Experiment 6

External and Internal Anatomy of Frog

A. Pithing

Table 6.1 List all the major organs affected by pithing the frog

Organ System Affected Function

B. Identification of Sex of the Frogs under Study

Table 6.2 Put a check mark corresponding to the characteristics of the frog under study and
identify the sex of the frogs. (Show the frog to your instructor for checking.)

Characteristics Frog X Frog Y

Yes No Yes No
Pigmentation at the
darkly pigmented darkly pigmented
Lower Jaw
lightly pigmented lightly pigmented
Thumb Pads swollen
swollen flat
Body Size big small
big small
External and Internal Anatomy Frog BIO 22L

Body Structure bloated bloated

not bloated not bloated
Identified Sex male
male female

Ventral View of the Frog

C. External Anatomy of
the Frog

Figure 6.1 Draw the

external anatomy

Note of the following labels

for each structure identified

1. axial region
2. appendicular region
3. snout
4. external nares
5. mouth
6. eyes
7. upper eyelid
8. lower eyelid
9. nictitating membrane
Dorsal View of the Frog 10. brow spot
11. tympanic membrane
12. trunk
13. hump
14. cloaca
15. forelimb
16. hindlimb
17. manus
18. carpus
19. phalanges
20. thigh
21. shank
22. tarsus
23. pes
24. prehallux
External and Internal Anatomy Frog BIO 22L

Frogs Buccal Cavity

D. Internal Anatomy of the


Figure 6.2 The Buccal Cavity

and the Respiratory System of
the Frog

Identify the labeled structures in

the buccal cavity of the frog:

The Digestive System ofathe Frog*

* labels should be based on the mentioned structures in

the procedure D.3
External and Internal Anatomy Frog BIO 22L
Male Frogs Urogenital System Female Frogs Urogenital System

Figure 6.3 The Urogenital System of the Frog

*labels should be based on the mentioned structures in the procedure D.4

Table 6.3 Major Internal Organs and their Specific Functions

Organs Specific Function(s)

Buccal Cavity
Fat Bodies
External and Internal Anatomy Frog BIO 22L



1. Where is the tongue attached to the jaw? How would this place of attachment and the
tongues stickiness be useful to the frog?

2. What is the function of the webbing between the toes of the frog?

3. How does the length of the small intestine relate to its function in the absorption of

4. During the cold winter, the frogs body temperature cools and the frog becomes inactive.
Where does the frog get food when it cannot catch prey?

5. In what situation would the location of the frogs nares be an advantage in breathing?

6. Give the evolutionary significance of the prehallux and the brow spot.


REFERENCES (In standard bibliographic format)

External and Internal Anatomy Frog BIO 22L