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Abstract

Skin specimens were obtained from every representative region of the body of an adult Finback whale (Balaenoptera physalus) and examined by means of various histochemical and histological techniques. The following characteristic features were found:

The epidermis is exceedingly thick over the general body surfaces and varies from a maximum of 3.0 mm over the ventral surface to 2.5 mm on the back.

The complex understructure of the epidermis has rete ridges oriented to the craniocaudad body axis.

The papillary layer of the dermis has long and pointed papillae which are wedged into the epidermis.

The sensory cutaneous nerve endings demonstrated by silver impregnation and cholinesterase consist predominantly of small Vater-Pacini corpuscles situated in the higher level of the dermis.

The intricate blood capillary network, positive for alkaline phosphatase is encased in the dermal papillae.

There are no hair follicles, sebaceous and sweat glands.