Histomorphology of the glans penis in Vespertilionidae and Phyllostomidae species (Chiroptera, Mammalia)
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The penises of bats are taxonomically distinctive in size and shape. In addition, they are variable in microscopic anatomy, indicating that histomorphological studies of copulatory organs of bats may help understanding their successful reproductive strategies. We studied adult males of 13 species of vespertilionid and phyllostomid bats. Both families exhibited the basic structure of the vascular penis of mammals: the hydrostatic elements of the corpora cavernosa and the corpus spongiosum surrounding the urethra, as well as accessory cavernous tissue. Variation in the position and amount of the tissues were observed in these families. Vespertilionid bats have a small glans penis with abundant accessory cavernous tissue on the prepuce and a highly variable baculum. The baculum varied in size and morphology, even among congeneric species, such as the three Lasiurus species and the two Myotis species. Phyllostomid species possess no bacula, but vascular structures are present to produce penile stiffening, particularly on the glans. Variation in the microscopic anatomy of the phyllostomid prepuce was observed, for example, Artibeus species had accessory cavernous tissue surrounded by a tunica albuginea, but Carollia perspicillata had two bundles of striated musculature and some adipose tissue; abundant pigments were present in the prepuce of most species.
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