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J Anat. 1980 Mar;130(Pt 2):349-65.

Comparative morphology of the accessory olfactory bulb in bats.


Bouin-perfused brains of 148 bats (76 species, 48 genera, 8 families) were examined in serial sections for the presence of an accessory olfactory bulb. A moderate to well developed AOB was identified in 26 species. However, absence of an AOB in a particular species does not preclude its presence in some other species of that genus. Descriptions and measurements of the AOBs of each species are reported. The unmyelinated vomeronasal nerve enters the bulb medially and posteriorly. The glomeruli, variable in diameter, appear better circumscribed than previously described. Mitral cells often form thick layers, up to five cells deep, which sometimes reach the dorsolateral surface of the bulb formation. Both external and internal plexiform layers are thin. The latter, however is seen only in a few species. The internal granular layer, reaching the ventricular ependyma in some species, is a prominent component of the bulb. The pars dorsalis of the lateral olfactory tract usually courses between the mitral and internal granular layers. The chiropteran AOB does not differ in significant detail from that of insectivores, primates and other mammals. The occurrence of a functional vomeronasal system in the frugivorous, nectarivorous, and sanguivorous Phyllosotomatidae points to a primary functional role of this system in feeding strategy, at least in bats.

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