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Pesquisa Veterinária Brasileira

versão impressa ISSN 0100-736X


RODRIGUES, Marcio N. et al. Gross morphology and topography of the digestive apparatus in rheas (Rhea americana americana). Pesq. Vet. Bras. [online]. 2012, vol.32, n.7, pp.681-686. ISSN 0100-736X.

Rheas are birds belonging to the ratites group and, among ostriches and emus, are the largest birds currently alive. In this work we studied the macroscopic aspects of rheas' digestive tract in order to provide important information to a better understanding of these birds' eating habits as well their anatomy. Twenty young animals aging between two and six months from the Centre for Wild Animals Multiplication (Cemas, scientific breeding license form Ibama no.1478912) were used. After dissection it was observed that their tongue was small and presented a rhomboid form, being disposed on the oral cavity floor, and inserted in its base by a frenulum. The esophagus was a rectilinear tube with elastic aspect and longitudinal elastic fibers, without dilation, which gives it an absence of crop. The proventriculus presented a fusiform form and the gastric ventricle showed and slightly oval form when filled, and was internally coated with a thick gastric cuticle. The small intestine was composed of three distinct regions: duodenum, jejunum and ileum. The duodenum had a light gray color and showed a "U" curved shaped. The jejunum was dark green, long and composed of several short loops arranged above each other. The ileum had a gray color and was connected with the jejunum. In ventral line to the rectum and cloaca, the ileum extended cranially, dorsally to the ascending duodenum. The large intestine was composed of two caeca, one right and one left, and colon-rectum and ileum were continuous with the cloaca. The structures of the rhea digestive tract resemble those described in the literature regarding to its shape and topography, even though rhea's caeca are well developed and relatively long.

Palavras-chave : Rhea americana americana; anatomy; digestive apparatus; birds.

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