Light microscopic morphometry of the lung of 19 avian species.
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The lungs of 107 birds of 19 different species from seven orders were fixed in situ. The mean volumes of both fixed lungs together ranged from 0.15 to 95.31 cm3. Histological sections of one lung from each bird were analyzed by point counting with a Zeiss integrating eyepiece to determine the volume densities and thence the absolute volumes of the main functional components of the lung. The mean volume density of the exchange tissue was highest in the 11 passeriform species (53.5%) and lowest in the 2 charadriiform species (34.6%); that for all of the 8 non-passeriform species was 42.6%. The possible significance of these variations in relation to the differing oxygen requirements of these groups of birds is discussed. The parabronchi showed minor variations in the degree of development of the interparabronchial septa, atria, interatrial septa, and atrial muscles. The diameter of the parabronchi (including the mantle of exchange tissue) ranged from about 0.34 mm in the passeriform species to about 0.63 mm in Anser anser; the lumen of the parabronchus accounted for about half of this diameter. Body weight an lung volume were strongly correlated (0.995); the allometric function relating lung volume to body weight was 29.5 w0.988