Three-dimensional morphology of inner ear development in Xenopus laevis

Dev Dyn. 2003 Jul;227(3):422-30. doi: 10.1002/dvdy.10316.


The three-dimensional morphology of the membranous labyrinth of Xenopus laevis is presented from embryonic through late tadpole development (stages 28 to 52, inclusive). This was accomplished by paint-filling the endolymphatic spaces of Xenopus ears at a series of stages, beginning with the embryonic otic vesicle and ending with the complex ear of the late tadpole. At stage 52, the inner ear has expanded approximately 23-fold in its anterior/posterior dimension compared with stage 28 and it is a miniature of the adult form. The paint-filling technique illustrates the dramatic changes required to convert a simple ear vesicle into the elaborate form of the adult, including semicircular canal formation and genesis of vestibular and auditory organs, and it can serve as a basis for phenotype identification in experimentally or genetically manipulated ears.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Ear, Inner / anatomy & histology*
  • Ear, Inner / embryology*
  • Metamorphosis, Biological
  • Models, Anatomic
  • Otolithic Membrane / embryology
  • Phenotype
  • Time Factors
  • Xenopus laevis