Non-invasive assessment of otolith formation during development of the Japanese red-bellied newt, Cynops pyrrhogaster

Hajime Koike, Kouji Nakamura, Kousuke Nishimura, Isamu Kashima, Michael L. Wiederhold, Makoto Asashima

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


Pre-mated adult female newts and embryos have been flown on the International Microgravity Laboratory-2 (IML-2) Space Shuttle flight in 1994 (Wiederhold et al., 1992b). With the specimens available from this flight, the calcification of otoliths, ulna, radius and backbone of the flown larvae and adult newts were analyzed. The experiments presented here studied the development of the otoliths on the ground. Otoliths of living newts, from embryo to adult, were observed in situ with the application of a new X-ray and bio-imaging analyzer system. For the establishment of this method, newts at different developmental stages were used. An imaging plate temporarily stores the X-ray energy pattern at the bio-imaging analyzer. A latent image on the imaging plate was transformed into a digital time series signal with an image reader. Acquired digital information was computed with the image processor. The processed information was recorded on film with an image recorder, in order to visualize it on an enlargement computed radiograph. To analyze development of the otoliths, photo-stimulated luminescence level was detected by an image analyzer, using transmitted X-ray photons. A single clump of otoconia could first be seen at stage 33. Stage-36 embryos first have distinguishable otoliths, with the utricle in front and saccule behind. Our results show that this X-ray method detects the otoliths equally as well as sectioning. In the newt, the mandibular/maxillary bone formed before the spine. It is suspected that for the newt embryo, living in water, feeding becomes necessary prior to support of the body.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)206-214
Number of pages9
JournalHearing Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Aug 1995
Externally publishedYes


  • Calcification
  • Computed radiograph
  • Development
  • Otolith
  • Photo-stimulated luminescence level
  • X-ray

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sensory Systems


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