The placentation of the Hottentot golden mole (Amblysomus hottentotus) has been examined using light and electron microscopy and lectin histochemistry of nine specimens at both mid and late gestation. The placentae were lobulated towards the allantoic surface and the lobules contained roughly parallel arrays
of labyrinthine structures converging on a central spongy zone. At mid gestation, the arrays were composed of an inner cellular and outer syncytial trophoblast layer, the inner layer enclosing scant connective tissue and fetal capillaries. Maternal blood spaces coursed through the outer trophoblast and were lined by trophoblastic microvilli; the blood spaces were narrow in mid gestation but enlarged near term, while the inner trophoblast layer became thinner and seemed to be syncytial. These features were confirmed by transmission electron microscopy. The microvillous surfaces and dispersed cytoplasmic particles were heavily glycosylated, as shown by lectin histochemistry, and exhibited changes with
maturation, particularly a loss in N-acetyl glucosamine oligomers bound by Phytolacca americana lectin on the microvilli lining the maternal blood spaces and outer trophoblast particles. A substantial yolk sac was present both in mid and late gestation stages. It was clearly unattached to the uterus in the later stages. These morphological features are discussed in relation to the phylogenetic position of Amblysomus with respect to other members of Afrosoricida and Afrotheria.