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A stereological analysis of kidney structure of honeyeater birds (Meliphagidae) inhabiting either arid or wet environments

Casotti, G. and Richardson, K.C. (1992) A stereological analysis of kidney structure of honeyeater birds (Meliphagidae) inhabiting either arid or wet environments. Journal of Anatomy, 180 (2). pp. 281-8.

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Abstract

Stereology was used to quantify components within the kidney of honeyeater birds. Arid zone and wet zone inhabiting 'matched' body mass pairs of birds were examined. The kidney structure of the arid zone white-fronted honeyeater, Phylidonyris albifrons (16.9 g), was compared with that of the wet zone New Holland honeyeater, Phylidonyris novaehollandiae (21.9 g), and that of the arid zone spiny-cheeked honeyeater, Acanthogenys rufogularis (42.5 g), with that of the wet zone little wattlebird, Anthochaera lunulata (62.0 g). Both arid zone honeyeaters had a significantly higher (P less than 0.001) percentage of medulla in the kidneys, while the wet zone birds had a significantly higher (P less than 0.001) percentage of cortex. There were few differences between arid and wet zone honeyeaters in the percentage of nephron components in the cortex and medulla. Both arid zone bird species had a significantly larger volume of medulla, a feature characteristic of a high ability to conserve water by producing a concentrated urine. Both wet zone species had a higher volume of cortex but the difference was not significant. Few differences were found in the volumes and surface areas of tubules within the nephron. Differences that did occur were not always consistent with a high ability to conserve either ions or water more efficiently. The volume and surface area of brush border in the proximal tubule were significantly higher in the little wattlebird. This characteristic may lead to a greater capacity of its kidneys to absorb both water and ions.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Veterinary Studies
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing
URI: http://researchrepository.murdoch.edu.au/id/eprint/20042
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