The various ducts of the epididymides of four gallinaceous birds, the turkey (Meleagris gallopavo) , domestic fowl (Gallus gallus), guinea-fowl (Numida meleagris) and Japanese quail (Coturnix coturnix japonica) were studied at the scanning and transmission electron microscopy levels. The tissues were fixed either by immersion or vascular perfusion, for comparative purposes. Each duct system, save for a few details, presented similar morphological features in all species. The epithelial surface of the rete testis was regular and each cell bore a single cilium, as well as numerous, or in some parts, very few, short, regular microvilli. Each of the Types I and II non-ciliated cells of the proximal and efferent ducts displayed abundant, moderately long and regular microvilli, and a solitary cilium. The ciliated cells exhibited tufts of cilia. The Type III non-ciliated cell of the connecting and epididymal ducts exhibited a solitary cilium, and numerous microvilli which were intermediate in length between those of the rete testis and those of the efferent ducts. Vascular perfusion of the avian epididymal tissue was the superior method of fixation because it minimised the developments of fixation artefacts. Apocrine secretion did not appear to occur in the epididymis of these birds as the apical blebs of Types I, II and III cells, which have previously been reported, only manifest in this study in inadequately fixed tissues, and were therefore viewed as being artefacts. The present findings suggest that the current terminology, as applied to the avian epididymis, be retained.
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