In order to understand the biology of species that easily establish themselves in new environments, morphological studies are essential. This study aimed to describe the esophageal functional morphology of Hemidactylus mabouia, indicating adaptations to food habits. Seventeen adult specimens were used for anatomical, topological, histological, and histochemical analyses. Histological sections were stained with toluidine blue or submitted to techniques for identification of argyrophil and argentaffin endocrine cells, proteins, and glycoconjugates. The esophagus of H. mabouia is a tubular straight-lined organ, and its anterior portion is dilated, facilitating the swallowing of whole prey. The esophageal epithelium is pseudostratified, containing cells secreting neutral and acid mucins. At the esophagogastric transition, we found a mixture of this epithelium with a simple prismatic epithelium secreting neutral mucins. The esophagus lamina propria is thin and non-glandular. At the esophagogastric transition it becomes thick and filled by branched simple acinous glands, with cells secreting neutral mucins, zymogenic cells, and argentaffin endocrine cells, with no argyrophil cells. The mucins protect the esophageal mucosa and lubricate the channel to facilitate the passage of food, while pepsinogen in the stomach increases the levels of pepsin for proteolytic digestion. The muscular tunica is made up of smooth muscle cells. Ciliary action, in addition to muscle contractions, facilitates the swallowing of small prey.
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Hábitos alimentares da lagartixa-de-parede Hemidactylus mabouia (Reptilia, Gekkonidae) da planície litorânea do norte do Espírito Santo, Brasil.
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