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Functional morphology of the esophagus of the tropical house gecko Hemidactylus mabouia(Squamata: Gekkonidae)

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For more content, see Archives Néerlandaises de Zoologie (Vol 1-17) and Netherlands Journal of Zoology (Vol 18-52).

In order to understand the biology of species that easily establish themselves in new environments, morphological studies are essential. This study aimed to describe the esophageal functional morphology of Hemidactylus mabouia, indicating adaptations to food habits. Seventeen adult specimens were used for anatomical, topological, histological, and histochemical analyses. Histological sections were stained with toluidine blue or submitted to techniques for identification of argyrophil and argentaffin endocrine cells, proteins, and glycoconjugates. The esophagus of H. mabouiais a tubular straight-lined organ, and its anterior portion is dilated, facilitating the swallowing of whole prey. The esophageal epithelium is pseudostratified, containing cells secreting neutral and acid mucins. At the esophagogastric transition, we found a mixture of this epithelium with a simple prismatic epithelium secreting neutral mucins. The esophagus lamina propria is thin and non-glandular. At the esophagogastric transition it becomes thick and filled by branched simple acinous glands, with cells secreting neutral mucins, zymogenic cells, and argentaffin endocrine cells, with no argyrophil cells. The mucins protect the esophageal mucosa and lubricate the channel to facilitate the passage of food, while pepsinogen in the stomach increases the levels of pepsin for proteolytic digestion. The muscular tunica is made up of smooth muscle cells. Ciliary action, in addition to muscle contractions, facilitates the swallowing of small prey.

Affiliations: 1: 1Department of Animal Biology, Federal University of Viçosa, 36570-900 Viçosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil; 2: 2Department of Biological Science, Federal University of Ouro Preto, 35400-000 Ouro Preto, Minas Gerais, Brazil; 3: 3Department of Biological Science, Federal University of Viçosa, Campus Rio Paranaíba, 36570-000 Rio Paranaíba, Minas Gerais, Brazil; 4: 4Department of General Biology – Federal University of Viçosa, 36570-000 Viçosa, Minas Gerais, Brazil

10.1163/15707563-00002469
/content/journals/10.1163/15707563-00002469
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2015-07-16
2017-11-22

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