Gross Anatomy of the Ringed Seal (Pusa hispida) Gastro-Intestinal Tract

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Abstract

The gross anatomical structure of the ringed seal (Pusa hispida) gastrointestinal tract is poorly described and often veterinary anatomical terminology is not used. Although the basic abdominal visceral pattern corresponded to domestic carnivores, significant differences were noted. The stomach was an elongated sharply bent tube (u-shaped) with the pylorus and fundus juxtaposed. The elongated jejunum measured up to 15.6 times body length and had 37 jejunal arteries from the cranial mesenteric artery. The pancreas was asymmetrical with a small right lobe and a large left lobe. The unusually short greater omentum negated formation of deep and superficial leaves. The most remarkable difference was the separation of the liver parenchyma into three physically separate masses, held together by hepatic ducts, veins and arteries. The topography and position of the liver was dependent on the amount of blood in the hepatic sinus (distended hepatic veins and hepatic portion of vena cava). Thus, as the hepatic sinus filled, the lateral liver masses separate from the central mass by moving caudolaterally. This was facilitated by modified coronary and triangular ligaments which did not attach directly to the liver, but instead to the hepatic sinus. These anatomical adaptations are apparently advantageous to ringed seal's survival in a deep marine environment.

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