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Microsc Res Tech. 2013 Apr;76(4):388-97. doi: 10.1002/jemt.22178. Epub 2013 Jan 30.

Marsupial morphology of reproduction: South America opossum male model.

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Morphology Laboratory of Veterinary Medicine College, UNIFEOB, São João da Boa Vista, Brazil.


This study aims to describe the morphology of Didelphis sp. male genital organs (penis, testes, epididymis, ductus deferens, prostate, and bulbourethral gland). Ten male animals were used, eight for macroscopic and light microscopy analysis, and two for scanning electron microscopy. The testes and epididymis showed similarity to other eutherian mammals. The bifid penis showed the urethra ending in the medial region where the bifurcation begins, occurring in each segment extension of the urethral groove until the beginning of the glans. Histologically, the penis consists of a cavernous and spongy body, covered by stratified squamous epithelium with loose connective tissue. The urethra was lined by transitional stratified epithelium. In the prostate, prostatic segments were found consisting of tubular glands in a radial arrangement around the urethra, coated externally by a dense connective tissue associated with a relatively thick layer of smooth muscle arranged in two layers that surround the glandular tissue. The animals had three pairs of bulbourethral glands placed at the membranous and cavernous urethra junction with descending and parallel excretory ducts ending caudally in the urethral lumen.

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