Although the histology of the intestinal tract of Crocodylus niloticus is touched on in overall studies on reptilian intestinal tract, a more comprehensive light microscopical study on this area is lacking.
Specimens for histological examination were taken from the duodenum, the jejunum, the ileum and the rectum. The data obtained revealed that the mucosa is thrown into folds and simple, slightly branched tubular intestinal glands. The mucosal folds diminished in height and eventually disappeared upon reaching the ileorectal junction. The epithelium covering the folds and crypts was of the simple columnar type. Clear marginal cells, goblet cells and argentaffin cells were observed throughout the intestinal tract. No Paneth cells were seen in this study. The lamina propria was rich in lymphocytic infiltrations while the muscularis mucosa consisted mainly of an outer longitudinal layer, the inner circular layer being rudimentary or absent. The submucosa was extremely narrow, and the circular and longitudinal layers of the tunica muscularis contained distinct layers of dense fibrous connective tissue. The histology of the intestinal tract of C. niloticus is shown to be in line with the situation in crocodilians and also exhibits a resemblance to that of carnivorous mammals.
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