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Keywords:

  • African elephant;
  • hippopotamus;
  • iridocorneal angle;
  • pilot whale;
  • West Indian manatee

Abstract

The iridocorneal angles of prepared eyes from the West Indian manatee, short-finned pilot whale, hippopotamus and African elephant were examined and compared using light microscopy. The manatee and pilot whale demonstrated capacity for a large amount of aqueous outflow, probably as part of a system compensating for lack of ciliary musculature, and possibly also related to environmental changes associated with life at varying depths. The elephant angle displayed many characteristics of large herbivores, but was found to have relatively low capacity for aqueous outflow via both primary and secondary routes. The hippopotamus shared characteristics with both land- and water-dwelling mammals; uveoscleral aqueous outflow may be substantial as in the marine mammals, but the angular aqueous plexus was less extensive and a robust pectinate ligament was present. The angles varied greatly in size and composition among the four species, and most structures were found to be uniquely suited to the habitat of each animal.