Gross anatomy of the respiratory system of the bowhead whale, Balaena mysticetus
Article first published online: 26 JAN 2005
Copyright © 1983 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
The Anatomical Record
Volume 207, Issue 3, pages 435–449, November 1983
How to Cite
Henry, R. W., Haldiman, J. T., Albert, T. F., Henk, W. G., Abdelbaki, Y. Z. and Duffield, D. W. (1983), Gross anatomy of the respiratory system of the bowhead whale, Balaena mysticetus. Anat. Rec., 207: 435–449. doi: 10.1002/ar.1092070306
- Issue published online: 26 JAN 2005
- Article first published online: 26 JAN 2005
- Manuscript Accepted: 1 JUN 1983
- Manuscript Received: 22 NOV 1982
Components of the respiratory system from seven bowhead whales have been examined. The paired and laterally curved external nares are passively closed by a valve-like mass located in the rostral, lateral, and ventral walls of the nasal vestibules. Nasal septal cartilages are paired smooth plates rostrally changing to accordion-like folds caudally. The epiglottic and arytenoidal protuberances of the larynx are typically cetacean, but blunt. The cricoid cartilage is not a complete ring, but an elongated, inverted, troughshaped structure. The thyroid cartilage is trough-shaped with elongated cranial cornua curving dorsocaudally from each thyroid lamina. A conical mass of skeletal muscle serves as the floor of the short trachea and also surrounds the termination of the laryngeal sac. The trachea is dorsoventrally compressed, lacks a tracheal bronchus, and its width equals its length. The principal bronchi give rise to lobar bronchi at obtuse angles. Large segmental bronchi branch extensively from lobar bronchi near the mediastinal lung surface. The lungs are rectangular and of nearly uniform thickness throughout, without external or internal lobulation.