Effect of dietary carotenoids on vitamin A status and skin pigmentation in false tomato frogs (Dyscophus guineti)




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Brenes Soto, Andrea
Dierenfeld, Ellen S.

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Several species in captivity develop nutritional diseases including vitamin A deficiency; cases of this disease have been documented in amphibians, which may be linked to an insectivorous diet lacking in vitamin A or carotenoids. Adults and young of Dyscophus guineti were fed three diets over 9 weeks to evaluate effects on carotenoids and vitamin A status and skin pigmentation. Feeder crickets were either supplemented with soy oil (control, CON), soy oil enriched with β-carotene (BC) or mixed carotenoids (MIX) by direct injection of known dosages. Vitamin A from feeder crickets (measured as retinol) was higher in insects supplemented with both BC and MIX; (P=0.0001) and plasma retinol concentrations were significantly higher in frogs fed MIX (P<0.02). Results suggest that both false tomato frogs and feeder crickets could receive some provitamin A activity through consumption of diets supplemented with β-carotene, and xanthophylls like lutein and zeaxanthin. Pigmentation was evaluated weekly through the use of visual color charts, as well as quantitatively using a hand-held spectrophotometer. MIX diets had a significant effect on skin color values (P<0.0001), as well as on lightness (P=0.0005) and hue (P=0.0022). Results indicated that frogs fed with BC changed to yellower colors, and frogs fed with MIX changed to oranger colors. Visual color chart observations also scored significantly different between CON and MIX diets (P<0.05); the animals fed MIX also appeared oranger according to the qualitative observations. Dietary supplements with carotenoids resulted in color changes and higher circulating retinol concentrations in false tomato frogs. These pigments may provide provitamin A activity in diets, thus may support improved nutrition and health of captive-fed insectivorous amphibians.


Palabras clave

amphibians, color, lutein, nutrition, zeaxanthin, β-carotene, Dyscophus guineti