Histological, histomorphometrical and histochemical studies on the skin of zebra (Equus caballus)
S Sathapathy, UK Mishra, N Sahoo and C Bhuyan
The histological, histomorphometrical and histochemical studies were conducted on the skin samples of Zebra (Equus caballus) died suddenly due to lung infection in the Nandankanan Zoological Park, Bhubaneswar, Odisha on 12th March at 12.30 pm. It was revealed that the epidermis was made up of stratified squamous epithelium, where the keratinocytes were arranged in four strata such as stratum basale or germinativum, spinosum, granulosum and corneum. The stratum germinativum was one cell layer thick. However, the stratum spinosum was 9, 7 and 5 cell layers thick in arm, abdomen and thigh regions respectively. Similarly, the stratum granulosum was 5, 4 and 3 cell layers thick in arm, abdomen and thigh regions respectively. The stratum corneum was 2 cell layers thick. The papillary layer of dermis was prominent in abdomen and thigh regions in zebra. The sweat glands were absent. The sebaceous glands were smaller and have regular pattern of arrangement in the dermis of abdomen, whereas irregularities were found in the skin of arm region with respect to the distribution of sebaceous glands in the dermis. The hair follicles that were associated with the sebaceous glands have less thick cortex and shorter shaft, particularly in the abdominal region of zebra. The quantity of deposition of melanin pigment varied according to the location of different body parts of the zebra and is restricted to the stratum basale layer of epidermis and root of the hair follicles. The above observations and descriptions on skin characteristics of zebra would be useful in the identification of this wild species and would help wildlife students, pathologists and researchers for academic purposes and solving the vetero-legal cases.