European Journal of Anatomy

Official Journal of The Spanish Society of Anatomy
Cover Volume 18 - Number 3
Eur J Anat, 18 (3): 175-182 (2014)

Trunk and paw pad skin morphology of the African giant pouched rat (Cricetomys gambianus, Waterhouse-1840)

Chikera S. Ibe1, Suleiman O. Salami1 and Itopa E. Ajayi2

1Department of Veterinary Anatomy, Ahmadu Bello University Zaria, Nigeria and 1Department of Veterinary Anatomy, University of Abuja, Abuja, Nigeria

ABSTRACT The gross morphology and histology of the skin of the trunk and paw pads in the African giant pouched rat were investigated to evaluate their role in the adaptation of the rodent to its subterranean environment. Samples were stained with haematoxylin and eosin, Massonís trichrome, Alcian blue, Verhoeff's haematoxylin counterstained with Van Gieson, and Weigertís haematoxylin counterstained with Picro-Ponceau stains. Dorsally, fur covering the skin was loosely folded. Fur covered the entire trunk to the level of the radiocarpal and talocrural joints of the forelimb and hindlimbs, respectively. Skin of the dorsum was paler than its grey-coloured fur, while skin of the ventrum was dirty white. There were more hair follicles dorsally then ventrally. The manus and pes had five and six paw pads, respectively. Keratinocytes in the epidermis of the paw pads decreased in number and lost their cellular contents as they migrated towards the stratum lucidum. Metatarsal pads had a significantly (P < 0.001) thicker stratum corneum than metacarpal pads. Elastic fibres were observed in the metatarsal pads. Other results and additional information from the literature were integrated to propose the effect of the structures on the adaptation of the African giant pouched rat to its subterranean environment and tropical climate.

Keywords: Gross morphology, Histology, Skin of trunk, Paw pads, African giant pouched rat

European Journal of anatomy
ISSN 2340-311X (Online)