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Abstract

Integumentary development on the dorsal and ventral aspects of the body of 14, 21, 26, 33, and 40-day incubated embryos of the European Wall Lizard (Lacerta muralis) is described. While the earliest stages of epidermal differentiation resemble those reported for other tetrapods, precocious differentiation of dermal collagen more resembles that of anamniotes than that of birds and mammals. Anchoring complexes comprising cellular components, anchor filaments, and collagen are described, and their possible relationship to the formation of scale anlagen is discussed. The first embryonic epidermal generation differentiates beneath the periderm; most features of its histogenesis resemble those that have been described for the epidermis of adult squamates, but certain previously ignored organelles, including possible earlier β-keratin precursors, are reported. Different strategies regarding in ovo peridermal loss and posthatching shedding behavior are described and discussed in light of presently available data concerning control of cell differentiation in the squamate epidermis.