The histology and morphometrics of the major salivary glands of four species of wallabies (Marsupialia: Macropodiae) from Kawau Island, New Zealand

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Abstract

Allometric analyses of the three major salivary glands of 44 tammar wallabies Macropus eugenii and 58 parma wallabies Macropus parma from Kawau Island, New Zealand, indicate that tammar wallabies have larger parotid glands while parma wallabies have larger mandibular glands. The difference can be related to the importance of cooling in tammars, an arid-zone species, and the need for greater buffering of forestomach digesta in parma wallabies because of their greater daily food intakes and a higher browse component in their natural diet. Comparisons of sublingual gland size of these two species viewed in terms of their capacity for mucus production suggest that this may be influenced by the need to protect mucosa from mechanical and chemical injury from browse. Sample sizes of brush-tailed rock-wallabies Petrogale pencilliata and swamp wallabies Wallabia bicolor were too small for similar statistical comparisons, but they confirmed that salivary gland histology was broadly similar among all four species.

Ancillary