Author(s): Iwasaki S
Abstract Share this page
Abstract The dorsal surface of the tongue of the little tern, Sterna albifrons, has a distinctive anterior region for five-sixths of its length and a terminal posterior region. The anterior region observed by scanning electron microscopy is distinguished along its forward half by a median line from which median papillae protrude. The hind half of the anterior region has a median sulcus without papillae. The deciduous epithelium on both sides of the median line and sulcus bears scattered epithelial protrusions. The posterior lingual region has neither median papillae nor deciduous epithelium. So-called giant conical papillae are located in a transverse row between anterior and posterior regions. Delicate microridges adorn the surfaces of all outer epithelial cells in both regions. Examination of the dorsal lingual epithelium by light and electron microscopy provides histologic and cytologic criteria for distinguishing anterior and posterior regions. Basal cells are nearly alike throughout the dorsal epithelium. Intermediate layer cells of the anterior region contain numerous tonofibrils in electron-dense bundles composed of 10 nm tonofilaments. The outer layer is composed of electron-dense, well-keratinized cells, and electron-lucent epithelial protrusions are present on the exposed surface of the outermost cells. Median papillae are composed of typical keratinized cells, which are nearly filled with keratin filaments. Intermediate layer cells in the posterior region of the tongue are nearly filled with unbundled tonofilaments. There is only a very thin outer keratinized layer in this region.
This article was published in J Morphol
and referenced in Journal of Cytology & Histology