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Comparative Skin Structure of Some Fossorial and Subfossorial Leptotyphlopid and Colubrid Snakes
Morris K. Jackson and Harley W. Reno
Vol. 31, No. 3 (Sep., 1975), pp. 350-359
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3891600
Page Count: 10
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Morphological and histological studies were made of the skins of the snakes Leptotyphlops dulcis, Tantilla gracilis, T. nigriceps, Sonora episcopa, and Virginia striatula to elucidate integumental adaptations which might enable these sympatric species to inhabit subterranean environments. Scale morphology and skin histology are described, illustrated, and compared. Special emphasis is placed on the structure, formation, and distribution of a new proposed scale zone, the free margin. Functional strategies of the free margin and Oberhäutchen layer are discussed and correlated with species' burrowing abilities. It is suggested that free margins function in body streamlining and traction.
Herpetologica © 1975 Herpetologists' League