Histology of the sternal and suprapubic skin areas in lion tamarins (Leontopithecus sp. Callitrichidae–Primates)



Though knowledge regarding the biology and morphology of lion tamarins is scarce in the literature, it is very important for their conservation. This paper focuses on the anatomical and histological aspects of the glands involved in the scent-marking behavior of lion tamarins. It examines the histological aspects of sternal and suprapubic skin sections of specimens that were preserved in formaldehyde and were the property of the Rio de Janeiro Primatology Center Museum. Eighteen specimens from three lion tamarin (Leontopithecus sp.) species (L. rosalia, L. chrysomelas, and L. chrysopygus) were analyzed. Both sexes were represented, and macroscopic hypertrophy was quantified by direct observation of the tegument on the sternal area and classified as discrete, moderate, or accentuated for each specimen. The skin of both sexes had a high degree of histological resemblance to that of other primates, including humans. The epidermis presented stratified squamous keratinous epithelia, with a few cellular layers and dermis with cutaneous appendages (i.e., hair follicles and both sebaceous and sweat glands). The dermal papillae were short, and the sebaceous and apocrine sweat glands resembled those of humans. These glands were present in the dermis of the analyzed skin fragments of both sternal and suprapubic regions in great numbers. Furthermore, we were able to establish a relationship between the macroscopic appearance of the sternal tegument and the degree of microscopic gland hyperplasia. Am. J. Primatol. 68:1–7, 2006. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.