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Abstract

The integument of larval, parasitic adult, and upstream-migrant lampreys (Petromyzon marinus) was examined for iron deposition using light microscopic histochemistry and routine and histochemical procedures in the electron microscope. Ferritin particles, representing ferric iron, are present throughout most of the cytoplasmic matrix and within dense granules and vacuoles of epidermal mucous cells, but are not located in skein or granular cells. These particles are abundant in mucous cells of the dorsal surface but not the ventral surface and are more concentrated in adult lampreys compared to larva. Histochemistry revealed only sparse amounts of ferrous iron. Iron is not present in the dermis but is found in adipocytes of a subcutaneous layer. The deposition of integumentary iron is discussed with reference to body pigmentation and excretion of this metal.