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Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy

Exercise 4. Chordate Embryology


I. Objectives:
In this exercise, the student shall:
1) describe the different early developmental stages of some representative chordates postfertilization
2) identify the features that distinguish the different embryonic stages of some vertebrate
models
3) identify the germ layer derivations of different organs or organs systems of vertebrates
II. Methodology
This exercise will involve examination of prepared slides of selected frog and chick
embryos as follows:
1) frog blastula
2) frog gastrula (yolk plug stage)
3) frog neural tube stage
4) 10-mm tadpole, serial sections
5) 22- to 24-hour chick embryo, w.m.
6) 48-hour chick embryo, w.m.
III. Output
1) Examine the blastula and gatrula stages of the frog embryo under the microscope. Use
the outlines provided in the boxes below to illustrate the specimens observed and label the
following pertinent structures (when applicable): blastocoel, blastomeres, animal pole, vegetal
pole, micromeres, macromeres, gastropore, ectoderm, mesoderm, dorsal lip of blastopore,
archenteron, yolk plug. Beneath the figures, write down terms that describe the type of egg
featured based on amount and distribution of yolk, and cleavage pattern.

Figure 1a and 1b. The frog embryo at blastula and gastrula stages.

2) Observe the frog embryo at the neural tube stage. Illustrate the specimen using the
outline provided in the rightmost box below. In addition, draw similar specimens in the first two
boxes as they might have looked like at the neural plate and during the neural fold stage. The
following structures must be labeled when applicable: epidermal ectoderm, neural ectoderm,
mesoderm, endoderm, gastrocoel, notochord, neural plate, neural groove, nueral ridges, neural
tube, neurocoel.

Figure 2. Frog neurula stages.

3) Observe the serial sections of the 10-mm frog embryo at different levels from the anterior to
the posterior. Refer to the provided figures in the next page to identify some pertinent structures
listed below. (Other more features may be added whenever applicable.) And indicate the germ
layer from which each has been derived.
a) Stomodeum
q) kidney tubules
b) Epidermis
r) Intestine
c) mesenchyme
s) coelom
d) Optic lens and optic cup
t) hindgut
e) Telencephalon
u) spinal cord
f) Olfactory pits
v) dorsal fin
g) Diencephalon
w) proctodeum
h) Notochord
i) Otic vesicle
k) Myelencephalon
l) Heart
m) Muscle somite
n) Gall bladder
o) Liver
p) Stomach

Figure 3. Anterior sections of the 10-mm tadpole.

Figure 4. Middle to posterior sections of the 10-mm tadpole.

4) Observe slides of whole mounted specimens of the 22-hour (or 24-hour) chick embryo,
as well as the 48-hour chick embryo. Use the figures below to identify and label pertinent
structures in each selected stage of development, as follows: area pellucida, prosencephalon,
neuropore, neural folds, primitive streak, Hensons node, notochord, amnion, optic cup with lens,
auditory vesicle, mesencephaon, metencephalon, spinal cord, intestinal portal, branchial arches,
heart atrium and ventricle, aorta, lateral fold, spinal cord, lateral mesoderm, tail bud. Beneath the
chick embryo figues, write down the features which distinguish the two avian stages.

Figure 5a and 5b. Chick embryos at 24-hour and 48-hour stages.