Oxygen available to amphibian embryos fluctuates widely and is often very low. We investigated the effects of oxygen partial pressure (1.3–16.9 kPa) on embryonic development and hatching of two salamander (Ambystoma) and two frog (Rana) species. In Ambystoma, chronic hypoxia resulted in slowed development, delayed hatching, and embryos that were less developed at the time of hatching. Although hypoxia was not lethal to embryos, temporary developmental abnormalities were observed in Ambystoma at oxygen partial pressures of 3.8 kPa and below. Posthatching survival decreased below 3.3 kPa. In Rana, hypoxia did not affect developmental rate, presumably because hatching occurs at a very early stage of development relative to Ambystoma. However, Rana embryos hatched sooner in hypoxia than in normoxia, resulting in less developed embryos at the time of hatching. The results suggest that embryonic hypoxia may negatively affect survival and fitness in these species.

Document Type




Rights Information

© 1999 by The University of Chicago. All rights reserved.

Publication Date


Journal Title

Physiological and Biochemical Zoology