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Publication

Histological study of the thin skin of a migratory song bird

Journal Contribution - Journal Article

Avian skin is remarkably different from common mammalian and much less studied in comparison. In the absence of recent studies on clear histological structure of avian skin, we undertook this study to see the thin skin structure of migratory song bird red-headed bunting (Emberiza bruniceps). The seasonal changes in photoperiod results in significant changes in the colour, texture, fat content and external plumage, and as of yet no reports exist on how it effects the structure of integument itself. As a primary report, we find that thin section of skin of the migratory buntings in breast region is very lightly attached to the underlying muscle tissue while supporting a major plumage transition. There exists an extensive network of blood vessels beneath the loosely attached skin raising a possibility of the role of blood to bring nutrients/factors for seasonal changes seen in the external features of these birds. Cresyl violet staining of skin also indicates the presence of nucleic acid in skin-muscle pockets. Finally, we show the arrangement of small muscle pockets in such loosely attached skin which holds a repertoire of feathers. Our results provide the first histological view of a migratory avian species.
Journal: Acta Zoologica
ISSN: 0001-7272
Volume: 99
Pages: 1 - 8
Publication year:2020
Keywords:Anatomy & pathology, Animal sciences