On the vascularization and structure of the skin of a Korean bullhead Pseudobagrus brevicorpus (Bagridae, Teleostei) based on its entire body and appendages


Author’s address: J. Y. Park, Faculty of Biological Sciences, Chonbuk National University, Jeonju 561-756, Korea.
E-mail: park7877@chonbuk.ac.kr


To investigate the vascularization and structure of the skin and its relationship to cutaneous respiration in Pseudobagrus brevicorpus, a histological study by light microscopy was carried out on 15 regions of the skin, including eight body regions, six fins and the barbel. The skin consisted of the epidermis, dermis and subcutis in all regions, except for the barbel that had a relatively thin dermis and subcutis. The epidermis was composed of the outermost layer, the middle layer and the stratum germinativum. There were two kinds of gland cells: the unicellular mucus cells and large club cells. The middle layer had a small number of fine blood capillaries accompanied by dermal collagen in all regions; the mean number of blood capillaries ranged from 0.9 to 5.9. The mean diffusion distance between the capillary endothelial cells and the surface of the epidermis ranged from 50.6 to 126.8 μm. Based on these intra-epithelial blood capillaries, the relative surface area of the respiratory epithelium ranged from 0.1 to a maximum value of 1.2%. The dermis lacking scales had collagen bundles arranged parallel to each other, but vertical fiber bundles around the dorso-lateral regions were seen at intervals. Sensory organs such as taste buds, pit organs and lateral canals were found whereby the taste buds in particular were more abundant in the epidermis of the barbel. The vascularization of the skin may be closely related to an additional respiratory system used to deal with an extreme hypoxic condition during dry seasons.