Descriptive study of the diaphragm and lungs in the short-nosed echidna, Tachyglossus aculeatus (Mammalia : Monotremata)
Perry, SF and Schmitz, A and Andersen, NA and Wallau, BR and Nicol, SC, Descriptive study of the diaphragm and lungs in the short-nosed echidna, Tachyglossus aculeatus (Mammalia : Monotremata), Journal of Morphology, 243, (3) pp. 247-255. ISSN 0362-2525 (2000) [Refereed Article]
In this descriptive study, we characterize the diaphragm and lungs of the short-nosed echidna, Tachyglossus aculeatus, using a combination of gross anatomical, light-microscopic, electron microscopic, and morphometric techniques, including airway casting. The diaphragm is inclined from ventro-cranial to dorso-caudal and possesses a large central tendon (centrum tendineum). The crural and costal muscle groups and the associated trigoni are located in the same positions as in other mammals. The bronchial branching pattern reveals cranially broad, tapering stem bronchi and an unusually small number of first order bronchi. The asymmetrical primary branching pattern and possibly also the asymmetry of right and left lungs are plesiomorphic within the Mammalia. The histology and ultrastructure of the airways and lung parenchyma reveal no unusual features: alveolar type 1 and type 2 cells in the parenchyma; type 2 cells, exocrine bronchiolar cells (Clara cells), ciliated cells, and goblet cells in the terminal airways and the latter two cell types in the bronchi. Both a double and a single capillary net are found on the interalveolar septa. The high capillary loading of the double net may be of selective advantage because of long apneas and low metabolic rate in the echidna. (C) 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.