The structure of the air-breathing organs of the Indian fishes Channa punctatus, Channa Striatus, Amphipnous cuchia, Clarias batrachus and Saccobranchus fossilis has been investigated using electron microscopy. In all species the barrier separating the air from the blood consists of three main layers (epithelium, basal lamina and endothelium). The total thickness ranging from 0.78 μm in C. punctatus 1.6 μm in S. fossilis.
In Clarias and Saccobranchus the presence of pillar cells characteristic of gill secondary lamellae confirms evidence for the origin of these organs by modification of a typical gill structure.
In Amphipnous and two species of Channa, however, the evidence suggests that the accessory organs represent modified gills. The presence of valve-like structures between the afferent and efferent blood spaces of the vascular papillae gave the appearance of pillar cells under the light microscope.
The structure of these organs is correlated with physiological studies on the degree of their importance in the life of the animal and the degree of gill development