Document Detail

The fish in the turtle: on the functionality of the oropharynx in the common musk turtle Sternotherus odoratus (Chelonia, Kinosternidae) concerning feeding and underwater respiration.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  20665819     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
In tetrapods, the oropharyngeal cavity and its anatomical structures are mainly, but not exclusively, responsible for the uptake and intraoral transport of food. In this study, we provide structural evidence for a second function of the oropharynx in the North American common musk turtle, Sternotherus odoratus, Kinosternidae: aquatic gas exchange. Using high-speed video, we demonstrate that S. odoratus can grasp food on land by its jaws, but is afterward incapable of lingual based intraoral transport; food is always lost during such an attempt. Scanning electron microscopy and light microscopy reveal that the reason for this is a poorly developed tongue. Although small, the tongue bears a variety of lobe-like papillae, which might be misinterpreted as an adaptation for terrestrial food uptake. Similar papillae also cover most of the oropharynx. They are highly vascularized as shown by light microscopy and may play an important role in aquatic gas exchange. The vascularization of the oropharyngeal papillae in S. odoratus is then compared with that in Emys orbicularis, an aquatic emydid with similar ecology but lacking the ability of underwater respiration. Oropharyngeal papillae responsible for aquatic respiration are also found in soft-shelled turtles (Trionychidae), the putative sister group of the kinosternids. This trait could therefore represent a shared, ancestral character of both groups involving advantages in the aquatic environment they inhabit.
Egon Heiss; Nikolay Natchev; Christian Beisser; Patrick Lemell; Josef Weisgram
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article; Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Anatomical record (Hoboken, N.J. : 2007)     Volume:  293     ISSN:  1932-8494     ISO Abbreviation:  Anat Rec (Hoboken)     Publication Date:  2010 Aug 
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2010-07-28     Completed Date:  2010-10-13     Revised Date:  -    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  101292775     Medline TA:  Anat Rec (Hoboken)     Country:  United States    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1416-24     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
(c) 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
Department of Theoretical Biology, University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria.
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MeSH Terms
Adaptation, Physiological
Capillaries / anatomy & histology
Feeding Behavior
Microscopy, Electron, Scanning
Mouth Mucosa / anatomy & histology,  blood supply
Mucous Membrane / anatomy & histology,  blood supply
Oropharynx / anatomy & histology*,  blood supply,  physiology*
Tongue / anatomy & histology,  blood supply
Turtles / anatomy & histology*,  physiology*

From MEDLINE®/PubMed®, a database of the U.S. National Library of Medicine

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