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Anat Histol Embryol. 2019 Sep;48(5):421-428. doi: 10.1111/ahe.12462. Epub 2019 Jul 1.

Papillary architecture of the Leopardus pardalis tongue.

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Laboratory of Morphological Animal Research (LaPMA), Federal Rural University of Amazonian, Belém-PA, Brazil.
Laboratory of Animal Histology and Embriology (LHEA), Federal Rural University of Amazonian, Belém-PA, Brazil.
Pós graduation program in Animal Health and Production in Amazonian, Animal Health and Production Institute, Federal Rural University of Amazonian, Belém-PA, Brazil.
Paragominas Mineration S/A, Hydro Paragominas, Eco Florestal Company, Paragominas, Brazil.


The ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) is a Felidae of wide geographical distribution and food flexibility; therefore, it is essential to understand the morphology of the species. Thus, we aimed to describe its lingual morphology in order to gain information regarding the anatomy of this carnivore's digestive system. The tongues ​​were removed for ex situ macroscopic and morphometric analyses, as well as for light microscopy and scanning electron microscopy, of fragments of the different lingual regions. The tongue of L. pardalis had an elongated form that was subdivided into the apex, body and root, in which four papillary types were observed: filiform, fungiform, circumvallate and conical. It presented with a stratified, keratinized squamous epithelium, followed by loose and dense connective tissues, as well as a skeletal striated musculature that comprised most of the organ. In addition, in scanning electron microscopy the filiform papillae showed a complex with multiple layers of keratin with triangular shape projected caudally in oral cavity. The fungiform papillae were distributed among the filiform and showed a rounded shape with some gustatory pores, and are keratinized but in a lower intensity if compared with filiform. The vallate papillae, located in lingual root, showed an oval format, had a deep groove surrounded the papillae and some gustatory pores. The conical papillae are located in lingual root and are similar to the filiform. The tongue of L. pardalis resembles other carnivorous species, mainly among felids. However, it differed in relation to the quantity of vallate papillae and the absence of foliate papillae.


digestive system; morphology; ocelot; tongue papillary


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