Comparative features of the surface morphology of the basilar papilla in five families of salamanders (amphibia; caudata)

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The surface morphology of the basilar recess and papilla was examined in 14 species of newts and salamanders selected from the five families of urodeles (Ambystomatidae, Salamandridae, Hynobiidae, Cryptobranchidae, and Amphiumidae) known to have this end‐organ. In this sampling, the general organization of basilar structures is essentially similar across species investigated. The recess forms a tubular diverticulum of the proximal part of the lagena. One wall of the recess is associated with a diverticulum of the intracapsular periotic sac, and an adjacent wall is occupied by the basilar papilla. The papilla contained from as few as five hair cells in specimens of Taricha torosa to over 200 hair cells in Cryptobranchus allegheniensis. In most species, the papilla showed a morphological continuum between tall centrally or distally placed ciliary bundles and short ciliary bundles near the papillar margins. In certain species examined, tall bundles had kinocilia with swellings near their tips. Most forms showed a tendency to have groups of ciliary bundles morphologically polarized either toward or away from the saccule. In Cryptobranchus and Dicamptodon, many bundles had a random orientation. The gross and fine structural features of the basilar complex are compared in urodeles and anurans, and “generalized” features for the amphibian basilar complex are suggested. The basilar complex of Cryptobranchus is interpreted as being most generalized, representing a structural form from which most features of the basilar complex in other urodeles and anurans can be derived.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)201-217
Number of pages17
JournalJournal of Morphology
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 1986
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Developmental Biology


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