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Bidder's organ is a spherical, brownish organ in most members of the family Bufonidae (true toads). The organ is located just in front of the kidney, or mesonephros. It is formed at the cranial tip of the male and female gonad during the larval stage. Its main function appears to be endocrine, taking part in regulating sex hormones.
Normally it contains miniature egg follicles which have the capability to mature (becoming active). Zoologists have experimented with the physiology of the organ by castrating male toads (removing the testes). In doing so, the Bidder's organ enlarges and produces viable oocytes, that is, egg cells. (Only rudimentary oviducts are developed, preventing eggs from actually being laid.) The Bidder's organ only develops into an ovary analogue when testes are removed experimentally or not functioning properly (e.g. due to exposure to endocrine disrupting chemicals). Importantly, females can have Bidder's organs in addition to true ovaries which suggests that the Bidder's organ might not be a rudimentary ovary.
It is named in honour of Friedrich Bidder.
The organ's internal anatomy consists of two parts: the central portion, consisting of connective tissue and rich in blood vessels, and its periphery, consisting of the cortex, which contains follicles in various stages of development. Molecules of various proteins are present in the outer layer of the follicles, homologous to the zona pellucida of the ovum. The physiology of the Bidder's organ is unique, having no connection with the sexual changing capabilities of amniotes (i.e., reptiles, avians, and mammals).
Location in a dissected toad
The ideal specimen for dissection is Bufo marinus, or Giant Cane Toad. In the male toad, lift the intestine leftward. In the mesentery of the intestine between the two mesonephros is the Bidder's organ. It is a conspicuous organ, being colored red, and at the cranial poles of the large testes.
- Piprek, Rafal P.; Kloc, Malgorzata; Kubiak, Jacek Z. (2014). "Bidder's organ – structure, development and function". The International Journal of Developmental Biology. 58 (10–12): 819–27. doi:10.1387/ijdb.140147rp. PMID 26154323.
- Brown, Federico D.; del Pino, Eugenia M.; Krohne, Georg (2002). "Bidder's organ in the toad Bufo marinus: Effects of orchidectomy on the morphology and expression of lamina-associated polypeptide 2". Development, Growth and Differentiation. 44 (6): 527–35. doi:10.1046/j.1440-169X.2002.00665.x.