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Lingual salt glands inCrocodylus acutus andC. johnstoni and their absence fromAlligator mississipiensis andCaiman crocodilus


  1. 1.

    Lingual salt glands, secreting hyperosmotic Na/K solutions in response to methacholine, are present inCrocodylus acutus andC. johnstoni but apparently absent from the alligatorids,Alligator mississipiensis andCaiman crocodilus.

  2. 2.

    Both secretory rates (6–20 μmol/100 g·h) and concentrations (450–600 mM Na) of glandular secretions are essentially identical in the marine/estuarineC. acutus andC. porosus and significantly higher than in the freshwaterC. johnstoni (1–2 μmol/100 g·h; 320–420 mM Na).

  3. 3.

    Lingual glands inAlligator secrete isosmotic Na/K at low rates (1–2 μmol/100 g·h) while those ofCaiman show no response to methacholine.

  4. 4.

    The physiological contrast between alligatorids and crocodylids is reflected in distinct differences in the superficial appearance of the tongue and lingual pores.

  5. 5.

    It is postulated that the alligatorid condition of low secretory capacity and isosmotic secretion reflects the primitive salivary function of lingual glands from which the salt-secreting capability in crocodylids was derived.

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Taplin, L.E., Grigg, G.C., Harlow, P. et al. Lingual salt glands inCrocodylus acutus andC. johnstoni and their absence fromAlligator mississipiensis andCaiman crocodilus . J Comp Physiol B 149, 43–47 (1982).

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  • Human Physiology
  • Distinct Difference
  • Methacholine
  • Secretory Rate
  • Salt Gland