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Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy

Exercise 5. Vertebrate Integument

I. Objectives:
In this exercise, the student will:
1. Distinguish among several examples of epidermal and dermal derivatives of the
vertebrate integument
2. Identify different features of the integumentary structures of selected vertebrate
II. Methodology:
Different specimens of integumentary structures, both macroscopic and microscopic, will
be examined by the student, as follows:
1. frog skin, cross section
10. turtle carapace and plastron
2. human skin, cross-section
11. cattle horn
3. placoid scale, w.m.
4. ganoid, scale. W.m.
5. ctenoid scale, w.m.
6. cycloid scale, w.m.
7. contour feather, w.m.
8. down feather, w.m.
9. filoplume, w.m.

III. Output:
1. Examine the cross section of the frog skin under the HPO (or LPO). Use the boxed
outline in the next page to illustrate the observed specimen and label the following parts:
epidermis, dermis, unicellular glands, multi-cellular glands, stratum corneum, stratum
germinativum, stratum laxum, stratum compactum, collagenous fibers, pigment cells.
2. Examine the cross section of the human skin (preferably a pigmented specimen)
under the HPO (or LPO). Compare the features of this slide specimen with that of the
amphibian skin. Use the boxed diagram in the next page to illustrate the specimen and label
the different parts as mentioned in the frog skin, with the addition of the following, when
applicable: stratum lucidum, stratum granulosum, papillae of germinativum, cutaneous
vessels, hair follicles.
3. Observe whole mounts of placoid, ganoid, cycloid and ctenoid scales under the light
microscope. Refer to the boxed drawings below and identify the different types of fish scales
observed by writing the correct term beneath each diagram. Add in all other necessary
details. Identify the following parts for each type whenever applicable: denticle, spine or
crest, basal plate, ganoin surface, rhomboid plate, junction or hinge line, fluting ridges,
concentric ridges, toothed edge, projecting edge or posterior edge.

Figure 1. Cross-section of frog skin.

Figure 2. Cross-section of human skin.

Figure 3. Four different types of fish dermal scales.

4. Examine slide specimens of a contour feather, down feather and filoplume of a bird.
Use the boxed drawings below to make illustrations of your observations, and identify each
feather type. Label the following parts whenever applicable: quill, calamus, feather vane
(outer and inner), inferior umbilicus, superior umbilicus, barbs and barbules (hooked and
flanged), terminal barbs, side branches, rachis.
5. Obtain a ventral and dorsal turtle shell specimens. Examine the epidermal (external)
and the dermal sides (internal) sides of both the carapcae and plastron. Use the boxed
templates on the next page to illustrate the turtle shell specimens. For the carapace, the
following parts on the dorsal and ventral surfaces should be identified: epidermal scutes,
neural scute, costal scutes, marginal scutes, nuchal scute, pygal scute, ventral sutures, ribs
and spine, dermal plates, nuchal plates, neural plates, marginal plates and pygal plates.
Likewise, the features on the ventral and dorsal surfaces of the plastron should also be
labeled as follows: gular, humeral, abdominal, femoral and anal plates, inframarginal scutes,
epiplastron, endoplastron, hyoplastron, hypoplastron, ziphiplastron.

Figure 4. Different feather types.

Figure 5a. External views of the turtle carapace and plastron.

Figure 5b. Internal surfaces of the turtle carapace and plastron.

6. Observe a preserved specimen of a cattle horn. As much as possible, obtain one which
has been hollowed out or sectioned to view its interior. Draw the observed specimen in the
box provided below and label the following appropriate parts: epidermal sheath, bony core,
keratinized surface. Beneath the box, write the how the bovine specimen is different from or
similar to that a deer horn and a caribou horn.

Figure 6. Parts of a bovine horn.