Document Detail

Microanatomy of facial vibrissae in the Florida manatee: the basis for specialized sensory function and oripulation.
MedLine Citation:
PMID:  11799274     Owner:  NLM     Status:  MEDLINE    
Sirenians, including Florida manatees, possess an array of hairs and bristles on the face. These are distributed in a pattern involving nine distinct regions of the face, unlike that of any other mammalian order. Some of these bristles and hairs are known to be used in tactile exploration and in grasping behaviors. In the present study we characterized the microanatomical structure of the hair and bristle follicles from the nine regions of the face. All follicles had the attributes of vibrissae, including a dense connective tissue capsule, prominent blood sinus complex, and substantial innervation. Each of the nine regions of the face exhibited a distinct combination of these morphological attributes, congruent with the previous designation of these regions based on location and external morphological criteria. The present data suggest that perioral bristles in manatees might have a tactile sensory role much like that of vibrissae in other mammals, in addition to their documented role in grasping of plants during feeding. Such a combination of motor and sensory usages would be unique to sirenians. Finally, we speculate that the facial hairs and bristles may play a role in hydrodynamic reception.
R L Reep; M L Stoll; C D Marshall; B L Homer; D A Samuelson
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Publication Detail:
Type:  Journal Article    
Journal Detail:
Title:  Brain, behavior and evolution     Volume:  58     ISSN:  0006-8977     ISO Abbreviation:  Brain Behav. Evol.     Publication Date:  2001  
Date Detail:
Created Date:  2002-01-18     Completed Date:  2002-02-15     Revised Date:  2006-04-04    
Medline Journal Info:
Nlm Unique ID:  0151620     Medline TA:  Brain Behav Evol     Country:  Switzerland    
Other Details:
Languages:  eng     Pagination:  1-14     Citation Subset:  IM    
Copyright Information:
Copyright 2001 S. Karger AG, Basel
Department of Physiological Sciences and Brain Institute, College of Veterinary Medicine, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32610, USA.
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MeSH Terms
Hair Follicle / innervation,  ultrastructure
Sense Organs / physiology
Trichechus manatus / anatomy & histology*,  physiology*
Vibrissae / innervation,  ultrastructure*

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