Intraspecific macroscopic digestive anatomy of ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta), including a comparison of frozen and formalin-stored specimens

Marcus Clauss, Jelscha Trümpler, Nicole L. Ackermans, Andrew C. Kitchener, Georg Hantke, Julia Stagegaard, Tomo Takano, Yuta Shintaku, Ikki Matsuda

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5 Scopus citations


Digestive tract measurements are often considered species specific, but little information exists on the degree to which they change during ontogeny within a species. Additionally, access to anatomical material from nondomestic species is often limited, with fixed tissues possibly representing the only available source, though the degree to which this material is representative in terms of dimensions and weight is debatable. In the present study, the macroscopic anatomy of the digestive tract (length of intestinal sections, and tissue weights of stomach and intestines) of 58 Lemur catta [ranging in age from 1 month (neonates) to 25 years], which had been stored frozen (n = 27) or fixed in formalin (n = 31), was quantified. Particular attention was paid to the caecum and the possible presence of an appendix. The intraspecific allometric scaling of body mass (BM)0.46[0.40;0.51] for total intestine length and BM0.48[0.41;0.54] for small intestine length was higher than the expected geometric scaling of BM0.33, and similar to that reported in the literature for interspecific scaling. This difference in scaling is usually explained by the hypothesis that, to maintain optimal absorption, the diameter of the intestinal tube cannot increase geometrically. Therefore, geometric volume gain of increasing body mass is accommodated for by more-than-geometric length scaling. According to the literature, not all L. catta have an appendix. No appendix was found in the specimens in the present study. The proportions of length measurements did not change markedly during ontogeny, indicating that the proportions of the foetus are representative of those of the adult animal. By contrast, width and tissue-mass scaling of the caecum indicated disproportionate growth of this organ during ontogeny that was not reflected in its length. Compared to overall intraspecific variation, the method of storage (frozen vs. formalin) had no relevant impact on length or weight measurements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)431-441
Number of pages11
Issue number2
StatePublished - Mar 2021


  • Allometry
  • Anatomy
  • Digestive tract
  • Primates
  • Strepsirrhini


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