Pawedness and motor asymmetries in toads

Laterality. 1997;2(1):49-64. doi: 10.1080/713754252.


Pawedness was investigated in three species of toads, Bufo bufo , Bufo viridis , and Bufo marinus. Samples from natural populations were collected in two successive years and tested during attempts to remove a strip of paper stuck onto the snout ( Bufo bufo and Bufo viridis ) or during attempts to remove an elastic balloon wrapped around the head ( Bufo bufo ). A preferential right forelimb use at the population level was observed in Bufo bufo in both tests, whereas no clear pawedness was observed in Bufo viridis. Bufo marinus also showed no laterality in the paper-strip test, but it appeared to be strongly lateralised in another test that investigated which side the toad rotated when turned on its back underwater. Preferentially turning to the toad's left side as part of a righting response, Bufo marinus released the left forelimb first, using the right forelimb to control the roll to the upright position, and push to the surface. These results suggest that preferential limb use has a long evolutionary history, which dates back to early tetrapods.