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Comparative morphology of the adrenal gland in some species belonging to the family Lacertidae

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The distribution and the ratios between noradrenaline (NA) and adrenaline (A) cells in eight species belonging to the family Lacertidae were studied. There are variations in the distribution of the two cell types within the gland and a wide range of variation in the NA/A cell ratio. Comparing their data with palaeontological, anatomical and biochemical evidence, the authors are inclined to consider G. galloti and L. graeca as the most ancient lizards among those studied and to ascribe L. graeca to the group Lacerta part II together with L. dugesii. P. pityusensis should also be ascribed to the same group on the basis of the result, of this study. The other four species studied (L. lepida, L. trilineata, L. viridis and L. schreiberi) appear to be of fairly recent origin and should be ascribed to the group Lacerta part I, on the basis of the homogeneous distribution of the chromaffin cells inside the adrenal gland and their low NA/A cell ratios.

Affiliations: 1: Dipartimento di Biologia Evolutiva e Comparata, Via Mezzocannone 8, Università di Napoli, Italy


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