The development of the stomach of the teleost, Clarias lazera, during the early posthatching period, is described, and the developing stomach is compared with that of adult Clarias.
The stomach develops in two distinct parts: the corpus, which differentiates first, and the pylorus. The corpus contains a mucous surface epithelium, arranged in folds, and a tubular gland system containing only one type of gland cell, to which the secretion of pepsinogen and HCl is attributed. The pyloric region does not contain tubular glands.
From the ultrastructure of the gland cells, the 3H-thymidine labeling index, and the onset of acid production (as determined with pH indicators) it is concluded that a functional stomach is present in juveniles with a standard length of ± 11 mm (approximately 12 days after fertilization at 23–24° C).
The ultrastructure of the intestinal epithelium has also been studied. The intestine consists of three segments, similar to those described for stomachless teleosts and a number of fish larvae. In larvae as well as in juveniles, the enterocytes of the second segment show pinocytosis of horseradish peroxidase, although in the juveniles the stomach has already developed. This second segment has the same relative length in all studied larvae and juveniles and is also present in adult Clarias.
It is therefore concluded that the capacity to absorb protein macromolecules is not specifically related to the absence of a functional stomach in this teleost species.
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Stroband, H.W.J., Kroon, A.G. The development of the stomach in Clarias lazera and the intestinal absorption of protein macromolecules. Cell Tissue Res. 215, 397–415 (1981). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00239123