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J Morphol. 2012 Nov;273(11):1257-71. doi: 10.1002/jmor.20056. Epub 2012 Jul 18.

New insights into sexually dimorphic skin glands of anurans: the structure and ultrastructure of the mental and lateral glands in Hypsiboas punctatus (Amphibia: Anura: Hylidae).

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División Herpetología, Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales Bernardino Rivadavia-CONICET, Ángel Gallardo 470, C1405 DJR, Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires, Argentina.


Many anuran species are characterized by sexually dimorphic skin glands. These glands often are concentrated on specific areas, such as the mental region, flanks, or the nuptial pads. We studied the histology and histochemistry of mental and lateral glands in Hypsiboas punctatus, and compared them to skin from other body regions. We describe four types of dermal glands, two types of mucous and two types of serous glands. The mucous glands are formed by a single layered epithelium. The mucocytes surrounding a central lumen are filled with polyhedral granules. Ordinary mucous glands are small sized glands with cubical epithelium, mucoid content, and small granules. Specialized mucous glands are characterized by a larger size, a columnar epithelium, a proteinaceous content and larger granules. Both types of serous glands are syncytial and share some structural features including size, shape, and morphology of secretory granules. However, ordinary and specialized serous glands differ in their histochemical properties, size and appearance of secretory granules, and glandular outlets. The specialized type of mucous glands in H. punctatus resembles most SDSGs described in anurans, whereas the presence of specialized serous glands that are sexually dimorphic is less common. Both specialized glands occur only in mental and lateral regions of males, whereas ordinary mucous and ordinary serous glands occur in males and females.

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