Microscopic aspects of the nictitating membrane in Carcharhinidae and Sphyrnidae sharks: a preliminary study

Microscopic aspects of the nictitating membrane in Carcharhinidae and Sphyrnidae sharks: a... The nictitating membrane is an anatomic structure exclusively exhibited by Carcharhiniformes, the largest order among sharks. Here we present a detailed description of morphological characteristics of the nictitating membrane through light microscopy (LM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) in the following shark species: Carcharhinus limbatus, Galeocerdo cuvier, Prionace glauca, Rhizoprionodon lalandii, R. porosus, Sphyrna lewini and S. zygaena. Differences in the microscopic aspects of dermal denticles from the species studied were observed. P. glauca, a pelagic shark, showed a well-developed protection apparatus when compared with other pelagic species, while coastal sharks showed even higher structural complexity. In the blue shark the denticles are enameled, presenting an extensive pulp cavity and a base inserted in a connective tissue. Moreover, the species exhibits the higher number of ridges (up to nine) of varied size and shape and the muscular tissue is inserted in the ventral region of the connective tissue. Dermal denticles from C. limbatus, R. lalandii, R. porosus, S. zygaena and G. cuvier exhibit up to five ridges with hexagonal ornamentations in the crown. In S. lewini and S. zygaena, the denticles are rounded shaped and glandular cells are present. The patterns observed in the present study suggest a high level of specialization and evolutionary conservation shaped by the function of the structure. In addition, we hypothesize that the morphological simplification observed in the membrane when compared to the dermal denticles from the skin, is an evolutionary trait that evolved to improve the dynamic and biomechanics of this highly mobile structure allowing this way, a rapid and efficient protection against abrasion, mainly during predation events. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Zoomorphology Springer Journals

Microscopic aspects of the nictitating membrane in Carcharhinidae and Sphyrnidae sharks: a preliminary study

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Publisher
Springer Berlin Heidelberg
Copyright
Copyright © 2017 by Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg
Subject
Life Sciences; Animal Anatomy / Morphology / Histology; Developmental Biology; Evolutionary Biology; Animal Systematics/Taxonomy/Biogeography
ISSN
0720-213X
eISSN
1432-234X
D.O.I.
10.1007/s00435-017-0351-1
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The nictitating membrane is an anatomic structure exclusively exhibited by Carcharhiniformes, the largest order among sharks. Here we present a detailed description of morphological characteristics of the nictitating membrane through light microscopy (LM) and scanning electron microscopy (SEM) in the following shark species: Carcharhinus limbatus, Galeocerdo cuvier, Prionace glauca, Rhizoprionodon lalandii, R. porosus, Sphyrna lewini and S. zygaena. Differences in the microscopic aspects of dermal denticles from the species studied were observed. P. glauca, a pelagic shark, showed a well-developed protection apparatus when compared with other pelagic species, while coastal sharks showed even higher structural complexity. In the blue shark the denticles are enameled, presenting an extensive pulp cavity and a base inserted in a connective tissue. Moreover, the species exhibits the higher number of ridges (up to nine) of varied size and shape and the muscular tissue is inserted in the ventral region of the connective tissue. Dermal denticles from C. limbatus, R. lalandii, R. porosus, S. zygaena and G. cuvier exhibit up to five ridges with hexagonal ornamentations in the crown. In S. lewini and S. zygaena, the denticles are rounded shaped and glandular cells are present. The patterns observed in the present study suggest a high level of specialization and evolutionary conservation shaped by the function of the structure. In addition, we hypothesize that the morphological simplification observed in the membrane when compared to the dermal denticles from the skin, is an evolutionary trait that evolved to improve the dynamic and biomechanics of this highly mobile structure allowing this way, a rapid and efficient protection against abrasion, mainly during predation events.

Journal

ZoomorphologySpringer Journals

Published: Apr 4, 2017

References

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