Hualing CHEN,Mingbin YE,Yuyan LU,et al.Structure and Function of the Gastrointestinal Tract of the Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) Hatchling[J].Asian Herpetological Research(AHR),2015,6(4):317-330.[doi:10.16373/j.cnki.ahr.140074]
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Structure and Function of the Gastrointestinal Tract of the Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) Hatchling
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Asian Herpetological Research[ISSN:2095-0357/CN:51-1735/Q]

2015 VoI.6 No.4
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Structure and Function of the Gastrointestinal Tract of the Green Turtle (Chelonia mydas) Hatchling
Hualing CHEN12* Mingbin YE2* Yuyan LU1 Jinxia DUAN2 Pipeng LI1** and Hexiang GU2**
1 Institute of Herpetology and Liaoning Key Lab of Evolution and Biodiversity, Shenyang Normal University, Shenyang 110034, China
2 National Huidong Sea Turtle Nature Reserve Management Bureau, Huidong 516359, Guangdong, China
anatomy histology ultrastructure digestive tract diet sea turtle
The gastrointestinal tracts of four Chelonia mydas hatchlings were examined at the anatomical, histological and ultrastructural level. Our results show that the gastrointestinal tract (GI) is composed by esophagus, stomach, small intestine (SI) and large intestine (LI), and histologically of mucosa, submucosa, muscularis externa (ME) and serosa. The esophagus is marked by conical papillae lined by keratinized stratified squamous epithelium, whereas the remaining GI by simple columnar epithelium; esophageal diverticulum is absent. The stomach covered with mucous granule cells, contains cardia, fundic regions and pylorus, which are separately characterized by cardiac glands, fundic glands and pyloric glands, and have the thickest submucosa and ME of the GI. The ME of the esophagus mainly consist of one layer of circular smooth muscle whereas the rest of GI of two layers, inner circular muscle and outer longitudinal muscle. The SI is slightly longer than the LI and the GI is approximately 5.11 times of the carapace length. The SI is lined with longitudinal zigzag folds and characterized by absorptive cells with longer and denser microvilli, whereas the LI by transversal folds, goblet cells and lymphoid nodules. Only intestinal glands appear in duodenum. Endocrine cells are observed in all sections of the GI and accounted for the largest proportion in duodenum. The results demonstrate a perfect combination of the structure and function of the GI and reveal that the digestion and absorption primarily occurs in the foregut. C. mydas hatchling may prefer carnivorous diet.


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