Microanatomic structure of cetacean skin in the urogenital region
MetadataShow full item record
No differences were found in the epithelial, connective, or nervous tissue of the skin in this region that would imply an increased sensitivity in this area. However, an observed unique organization of the connective tissue may imply a functional difference in the skin of the urogenital region unrelated to the milk let-down phenomenon. Possible alternative mechanisms for the initiation of milk let-down in cetaceans are discussed, including myoepithelial cell contraction caused by urogenital bumping by calves, vocalization by calvest and tacto/acoustic stimulation of the urogenital area by the calf.
Epidermal thickness and papillary height varied among animals of different cetacean species, although there seemed to be a structural 'formula' applicable to the skin of all cetaceans that would permit efficient turnover of the epidermis. The significance of integumentary lipids is discussed. Deviations in cellular and subcellular structures of cetacean skin from those described in previous reports are mentioned, and a previously undescribed location for nerves in dermal papillae was revealed.
- Masters Theses