Histochemistry and functional organization of the dorsal skin of Ancistrus dolichopterus (Siluriformes: Loricariidae)

Tarun K. Garg Fabíola X. Valdez Domingos Vera Maria F. Almeida-Val Adalberto L. Val About the authors

The structural organization and histo-cytochemical features of dorsal skin of Ancistrus dolichopterus (acari bodo) are the main focus of this work. The epidermis, dermis and subcutis are the principal layers of the skin. The epidermis mainly consists of epithelial and mucous cells. Interspersed between them are lymphocytes, pigment cells, eosinophilic granular cells (EGC), and the taste buds as sensory structures. The high number of EGCs is implicated in general and specific immunological defense from pathogenic bacteria and multicellular parasites. The epithelial cells and mucous cells contain glycoproteins with oxidizable vicinal diols, carboxyl groups and O-sulphate esters and their high secretory activity is correlated with the bottom dwelling habit of this species. A thick stratum laxum contains overlapping osteoderms bearing denticles, and the stratum compactum make the integument thicker to help the fish in negative buoyancy for maneuvering near the bottom and protection. The entire body surface is covered by conical, backwardly directed denticles. These are composed of a dentine cone, surrounding a pulp cavity with the top covered by mineralized cap, and are the true homologues of teeth. These structures provide effective protection from abrasion and enemies. These structural peculiarities and histochemical features indicate additional physiological role of the skin of A. dolichopterus.

Epidermis; Skin structure; Denticle; Siluriform; Amazon fish

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