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Journal of Biosciences

, Volume 25, Issue 2, pp 181–190 | Cite as

The structure of the nasal chemosensory system in squamate reptiles. 2. Lubricatory capacity of the vomeronasal organ

  • Susan J. Rehorek
  • Bruce T. Firth
  • Mark N. Hutchinson
Article
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Abstract

The vomeronasal organ is a poorly understood accessory olfactory organ, present in many tetrapods. In mammals, amphibians and lepidosaurian reptiles, it is an encapsulated structure with a central, fluid-filled lumen. The morphology of the lubricatory system of the vomeronasal organ (the source of this fluid) varies among classes, being either intrinsic (mammalian and caecilian amphibian vomeronasal glands) or extrinsic (anuran and urodele nasal glands). In the few squamate reptiles thus far examined, there are no submucosal vomeronasal glands. In this study, we examined the vomeronasal organs of several species of Australian squamates using histological, histochemical and ultrastructural techniques, with the goal of determining the morphology of the lubricatory system in the vomeronasal organ. Histochemically, the fluid within the vomeronasal organ of all squamates is mucoserous, though it is uncertain whether mucous and serous constituents constitute separate components. The vomeronasal organ produces few secretory granules intrinsically, implying an extrinsic source for the luminal fluid. Of three possible candidates, the Harderian gland is the most likely extrinsic source of this secretion.

Keywords

Harderian gland nasolacrimal duct squamate reptiles vomeronasal organ 

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Copyright information

© Indian Academy of Sciences 2000

Authors and Affiliations

  • Susan J. Rehorek
    • 1
  • Bruce T. Firth
    • 1
  • Mark N. Hutchinson
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Anatomical SciencesUniversity of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Herpetology SectionSouth Australian MuseumAdelaideAustralia

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