Embryos of the direct-developing frog Elutherodactylus coqui cake up small quantities of yolk and yolk mineral early in incubation but increase their uptake of yolk reserves at later stages of development. Growth and accumulation of calcium and magnesium by embryos also occur slowly at first and at a higher rate later. Accumulation of calcium and magnesium by embryos is largely a function of variation in size of embryos, but uptake of phosphorus is unrelated to size. Although patterns of growth and uptake of mineral by embryonic coquis resemble those for embryos of oviparous amniotes, embryonic coquis do not deplete the yolk of its nutrients to the same degree. Thus, residual yolk of coqui hatchlings contains a high percentage of the nutrient reserves originally present in the egg. This difference between embryonic coquis and embryos of oviparous amniotes may indicate that transfer of nutrients from yolk to embryo becomes limiting during the growth phase. Alternatively, some aspects of the neurologic system are so poorly developed at hatching that coqui may not be able to find prey effectively. A large nutrient reserve could sustain hatchlings while the neurologic system continues to mature.
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