We tested the hypothesis that adult African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis) inhabiting water bodies in maize-growing areas (MGA) of South Africa would exhibit differences in testicular structure compared to frogs from water bodies in non-maize-growing areas (NMGA) in the same locale. Adults of both sexes were collected during the autumn of 2002 in South Africa, and stereological analytical techniques were used to quantify the distribution of testicular cell types. In addition, total laryngeal mass was used as a gauge of secondary sex differences in animals from MGA and NMGA study sites. Evaluation of the total laryngeal mass revealed that there were no statistically significant differences between X. laevis of the same sex from the NMGA and MGA sites. Mean percent fractional-volume values for seminiferous tubule distribution of testicular cell types of mature X. laevis, ranged from 3-4% for spermatogonia, 26-28% for spermatocytes, 54-57% for spermatozoa, and 14-15% for other cells types. The mean percent volume for blood vessels ranged from 0.3-0.4%. These values did not differ significantly between frogs from NMGA and MGA areas. Collectively, these data demonstrated no differences in gonadal and laryngeal development in X. laevis collected in South Africa from MGA and NMGA areas and that there is little evidence for an effect of agricultural chemicals used in maize production functioning as endocrine disrupters in this species. Screening of X. laevis testes revealed a small incidence of Stage 1 testicular oocytes in adult male frogs collected from the NMGA (3%) and MGA (2%).
Additional publication details
Assessment of laryngeal muscle and testicular cell types in Xenopus laevis (Anura Pipidae) inhabiting maize and non-maize growing areas of South Africa