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Comparative Skin Structure of Some Fossorial and Subfossorial Leptotyphlopid and Colubrid Snakes

Morris K. Jackson and Harley W. Reno
Herpetologica
Vol. 31, No. 3 (Sep., 1975), pp. 350-359
Published by: Allen Press on behalf of the Herpetologists' League
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3891600
Page Count: 10
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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.
Comparative Skin Structure of Some Fossorial and Subfossorial Leptotyphlopid and Colubrid Snakes
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Abstract

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.

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