Title
Structural tissue organization in the beak of Java and Darwin's finches Structural tissue organization in the beak of Java and Darwin's finches
Author
Faculty/Department
Faculty of Sciences. Biology
Faculty of Sciences. Physics
Publication type
article
Publication
London ,
Subject
Human medicine
Source (journal)
Journal of anatomy. - London
Volume/pages
221(2012) :5 , p. 383-393
ISSN
0021-8782
ISI
000309454500001
Carrier
E
Target language
English (eng)
Full text (Publishers DOI)
Affiliation
University of Antwerp
Abstract
Birds are well known for occupying diverse feeding niches, and for having evolved diverse beak morphologies associated with dietary specialization. Birds that feed on hard seeds typically possess beaks that are both deep and wide, presumably because of selection for fracture avoidance, as suggested by prior studies. It follows then that birds that eat seeds of different size and hardness should vary in one or more aspects of beak morphology, including the histological organization of the rhamphotheca, the cellular interface that binds the rhamphotheca to the bone, and the organization of trabeculae in the beak. To explore this expectation we here investigate tissue organization in the rhamphotheca of the Java finch, a large granivorous bird, and describe interspecific differences in the trabecular organization of the beak across 11 species of Darwin's finches. We identify specializations in multiple layers of the horny beak, with the dermis anchored to the bone by Sharpey's fibers in those regions that are subjected to high stresses during biting. Moreover, the rhamphotheca is characterized by a tight dermo-epidermal junction through interdigitations of these two tissues. Herbst corpuscles are observed in high density in the dermis of the lateral aspect of the beak as observed in other birds. Finally, the trabecular organization of the beak in Darwin's finches appears most variable in regions involved most in food manipulation, with the density of trabeculae in the beak generally mirroring loading regimes imposed by different feeding habits and beak use in this clade.
E-info
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