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Morphology and innervation of the buccal glands of the southern hemisphere lamprey,Geotria australis

Cook, R.D., Potter, I.C. and Hilliard, R.W. (1990) Morphology and innervation of the buccal glands of the southern hemisphere lamprey,Geotria australis. Journal of Morphology, 206 (1). pp. 133-145.

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The buccal glands of adults of the Southern Hemisphere lamprey Geotria australis consist of a pair of small, bean-shaped, hollow sacs, embedded within the basilaris muscle in the region below the eyes and to either side of the piston cartilage. Each gland, which is lined by a simple columnar epithelium and surrounded by an incomplete layer of skeletal muscle, discharges its contents into the oral cavity via a long, narrow duct. In downstream migrating young adults, the epithelial cells are low columnar, intermediate in electron density, and contain dark-staining inclusions and numerous lipid-like droplets. After saltwater acclimation, the epithelial cells become taller and the numbers of dark-staining inclusions increase whereas those of lipid-like droplets decline. By the end of the marine phase, the epithelium is more folded and now also contains dark and light cells. The ultrastructure of the epithelium shows the characteristics of both apocrine and merocrine secretion. Although intra-epithelial nerve endings were not observed, axons and occasional neurons are present in the lamina propria. Since the skeletal muscle capsule is also well innervated and contains neurons, a local feed-back mechanism may regulate the release of buccal gland fluid by monitoring the luminal pressure. Contractions of the skeletal muscle capsule and movements of the basilaris muscle during feeding would presumably assist the movement of secretion along the duct. The secretion possesses anticoagulating and haemolytic properties.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Biological and Environmental Sciences
Publisher: Wiley-Blackwell
Copyright: © 1990 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
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