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Do Phasianid Birds Really Have Functional Salt Glands? Absence of Nasal Salt Secretion in Salt-Loaded Sand Partridges and Chukars Ammoperdix heyi and Alectoris chukar sinaica

David H. Thomas, A. Allan Degen and Berry Pinshow
Physiological Zoology
Vol. 55, No. 3 (Jul., 1982), pp. 323-326
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/30157896
Page Count: 4
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Since scans are not currently available to screen readers, please contact JSTOR User Support for access. We'll provide a PDF copy for your screen reader.
Do Phasianid Birds Really Have Functional Salt Glands? Absence of Nasal Salt Secretion in Salt-Loaded Sand Partridges and Chukars Ammoperdix heyi and Alectoris chukar sinaica
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Abstract

Sand partridges and chukars (five each) were loaded orally with 4.5 ml 1.0 M NaCl/100 g body mass. During 2.25 h after loading, no individuals produced visible nasal salt secretion or tears; all five sand partridges produced anal excretion (mean fluid composition: 604 mOsm, 259 mmol Na⁺, 260 mmol Cl⁻/kg water), as did three of the chukars (678 mOsm, 368 mmol Na⁺, 323 mmol Cl⁻/kg water). Composition of anal fluid excreta suggests that the saline load caused a large increase in extracellular fluid osmolality, which should have elicited secretion if functional salt glands were present. Dissection of heads failed to show salt glands. Kidney masses were 22%-23% less than expected relative to body mass, which is also consistent with an absence of functional salt glands. It is concluded that sand partridges and chukars lack salt glands, and that other phasianid species are unlikely to possess them. This refutes a brief but widely quoted report of salt-gland secretion in sand partridges.

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