DISTRIBUTION AND INNERVATION OF FACIAL BRISTLES AND HAIRS IN THE FLORIDA MANATEE (TRICHECHUS MANATUS LATIROSTRIS) Academic Article uri icon

abstract

  • The distribution and anatomy of sirenian perioral bristles (modified vi brissae) and facial hairs are of interest because of their use during feeding and tactile exploration. In the present study we have identified six fields of perioral bristles on the face of the Florida manatee (T. manatus latirostris), four (U1U4) on each side of the upper lips and oral cavity, and two (L1-L2) on each side of the lower lip pad, inside the oral cavity and rostral to the horny mandibular pad. Each field has a characteristic location, number of bristles, and range of bristle length and diameter. There is a mean of 110 (± 19) bristles per side, with no left-right differences. Branches of the infraorbital nerve innervate the bases of the largest bristles (U2 group) on the upper bristle pad, and the inferior alveolar nerve supplies the bristles of the lower bristle pad. The dorsal and ventral buccal branches of the facial nerve innervate the superficial facial musculature, which is likely to be involved in bristle eversion and other movements which constitute feeding behavior. Hair is denser in the facial region than on the remainder of the body. Within the face, hair is denser on the oral disk than on the supradisk. The oval disk contains bristle-like hair, whereas the supradisk region possesses hair that is similar in length and diameter to that on the postcranial body. The mean total of bristles and hairs per face was 1,942. Means for the subregions were 220 (± 39) bristles on the perioral bristle pads, 601 (± 115) bristlelike hairs in the oral disk region, 710 (± 229) typical hairs in the supradisk region, and 411 (± 108) typical hairs on the chin. There were no significant differences between left and right side counts. Facial hair density was inversely correlated with facial area and body size. These data provide new information on the anatomical basis of the exceptional orofacial activities characteristic of manatees during feeding and tactile exploration.

author list (cited authors)

  • Reep, R. L., Marshall, C. D., Stoll, M. L., & Whitaker, D. M.

citation count

  • 52

publication date

  • April 1998

publisher