Epidermal glands in squamata: Fine structure of pre-cloacal glands in Amphisbaena alba (Amphisbaenia, Amphisbaenidae)

Authors

  • M. M. Antoniazzi,

    1. Laboratory of Cellular Biology, Instituto Butantan CEP 05503-900, São Paulo, Brazil
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  • C. Jared,

    Corresponding author
    1. Laboratory of Cellular Biology, Instituto Butantan CEP 05503-900, São Paulo, Brazil
    • Laboratory of Cellular Biology, Institute Butantan, Av. Vital Brazil 1500, CEP 05503-900, São Paulo, Brazil
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  • L. C. U. Junqueira

    1. Laboratory of Cellular Biopathology, Faculdade de Medicina, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
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Abstract

The femoral or cloacal region in lizards and amphisbaenians displays epidermal glands; these are commonly used for purposes of systematics. In spite of being recognized as semiochemical sources (Maderson [1986] Plenum Press, pp. 13–25), their precise role remains uncertain. The glands of lizards are assumed to be principally associated with reproduction and the demarcation of territory. Their function in amphisbaenians remains unknown. The histology of these glands has only been described for lizards. There are no ultrastructural studies of glands of either type. This study concentrates on the fine morphology of the pre-cloacal glands in Amphisbaena alba using routine histological and ultrastructural techniques. The pre-cloacal glands of amphisbaenians are, like those of lizards (Chiu and Maderson [1975] J. Morphol. 147:23–40), made up by a layer of germinative cells and various layers of polyhedral cells. The latter display three well-characterized stages of differentiation. Granules form and pass through two distinct stages. Thereafter, the granules fuse in the third stage. The glandular secretion is formed by cellular units that constitute the plug. Comparison of these morphological data with those available for lizards allows speculation about the function of the glands in amphisbaenians. © 1994 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

Ancillary