Histological description of generation glands and their functional relationship to the shedding cycle in cordylid lizards

Searby, Charles Alexander (2002-03)

Thesis (MSc)--University of Stellenbosch, 2002.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: Specialized skin scales (generation glands) and undifferentiated skin scales were compared in three species of cordylid lizard, viz. Cordy/us cordy/us, Pseudocordy/us micro/epidotus and P. capensis. These skin derivatives were histologically examined and compared, using data existing in literature (Maderson, 1966; 1967; 1968a) with similar structures in gekkonids. Histological descriptions of cordylid skin structure were the same as those shown for gekkonids. Three types of generation glands were identified in cordylids (Van Wyk & Mouton, 1992), and these proved to be different to those existing in gekkonid species. These three types of generation glands were further compared regarding their ecdysis histology, which proved to be identical, thus, these glands differ only on gross morphological structure. Skin of all three species was also compared with regard to ecdysis, and while the histology of all three was identical, shedding activity was shown to differ in all three species. P. micro/epidotus displayed dormancy in the germinative layer for much longer periods of the year than either of the other two species, while P. capensis displayed very little dormancy. C. cordy/us displayed an intermediate pattern of ecdysis activity and dormancy. Autoradiography was performed on all species in both ecdysis activity and dormancy periods, to compare mitotic activity patterns in these periods. Generation gland activity appeared to correlate well with known testosterone peaks in the testicular cycle in all three species. Asynchrony between generation glands and skin scales was shown in all three species.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: GENERASIEKLIERE EN VERVELLINGSIKLUSSE IN GORDELAKKEDISSE (SAURIA: CORDYLIDAE) Drie spesies gordelakkedisse, Gordy/us cordy/us, Pseudocordy/us micro/epidofus en P. capensis, se gespesialiseerde velskubbe (generasiekliere) en gewone velskubbe word vergelyk. Hierdie velskubbe word deur histologiese metodes geëksamineer en vergelyk, met gebruik van data wat reeds in die literatuur bestaan (Maderson, 1966; 1967; 1968a), met soortgelyke strukture in Gekkonidae. Histologiese beskrywing van Cordylidae veistruktuur was identies met dié van Gekkonidae. Drie tipes generasiekliere was geïdentifiseer in gordelakkedisse (van Wyk & Mouton, 1992), en hulle verskil gedeeltlik van naverwante strukture in Gekkonidae. Hierdie drie tipes generasiekliere was verder vergelyk met betrekking tot hulle vervellingsiklus histologie, wat identies was. Dus verskil hulle net met betrekking tot hulle vorm. Vel is ook vergelyk met dieselfde metodes. Alhoewel daar geen verskille was met betrekking tot hulle histology nie, was die tye van aktiwiteit van kiem-sellae beduidend verskillend in alle spesies. In P. micro/epidofus het die kiem-sellaag russtadium baie langer geduur as in die ander twee spesies, terwyl P. cepensis amper geen russtadium getoon het nie. G. cordy/us het 'n intermediêre gedragspatroon vertoon tussen aktiewe en rustende fase met betrekking tot sy vervellingsiklus. Outoradiografie is gebruik op elke spesie, in beide aktiewe en rustende vervellingsfases, om verskille in mitotiese aktiwiteit te wys. Generasieklier aktiwiteit blyk te korreleer met pieke van testosteroonvlakke van die testikulêre siklus in al drie spesies. Asinkronie is aangetoon tussen generasiekliere en velskubbe in al drie spesies.

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