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Anat Rec (Hoboken). 2017 Feb;300(2):309-325. doi: 10.1002/ar.23516. Epub 2016 Nov 24.

Unique Turbinal Morphology in Horseshoe Bats (Chiroptera: Rhinolophidae).

Author information

1
Department of Mammalogy, Division of Vertebrate Zoology, American Museum of Natural History, New York, New York, 10024.

Abstract

The mammalian nasal fossa contains a set of delicate and often structurally complex bones called turbinals. Turbinals and associated mucosae function in regulating respiratory heat and water loss, increasing surface area for olfactory tissue, and directing airflow within the nasal fossa. We used high-resolution micro-CT scanning to investigate a unique maxilloturbinal morphology in 37 species from the bat family Rhinolophidae, which we compared with those of families Hipposideridae, Megadermatidae, and Pteropodidae. Rhinolophids exhibit numerous structural modifications along the nasopharyngeal tract associated with emission of high duty cycle echolocation calls via the nostrils. In rhinolophids, we found that the maxilloturbinals and a portion of ethmoturbinal I form a pair of strand-like bony structures on each side of the nasal chamber. These structures project anteriorly from the transverse lamina and complete a hairpin turn to project posteriorly down the nasopharyngeal duct, and vary in length among species. The strand-like maxilloturbinals in Rhinolophidae were not observed in our outgroups and represent a synapomorphy for this family, and are unique in form among mammals. Within Rhinolophidae, maxilloturbinal size and cross-sectional shape were correlated with phylogeny. We hypothesize that strand-shaped maxilloturbinals may function to reduce respiratory heat and water loss without greatly impacting echolocation call transmission since they provide increased mucosal surface area for heat and moisture exchange but occupy minimal space. Alternatively, they may play a role in transmission of echolocation calls since they are located directly along the path sound travels between the larynx and nostrils during call emission. Anat Rec, 300:309-325, 2017.

KEYWORDS:

chiroptera; micro-CT scans; rhinolophidae; turbinals

PMID:
27863117
DOI:
10.1002/ar.23516
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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