The morphology of the intestine of the entomophagous longfingered bat, Miniopterus inflatus: mucosal topography and possible landmarks.
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The intestinal tract of the longfingered bat, Miniopterus inflatus, was studied macroscopically, with the light microscope and the scanning electron microscope. The intestine comprised a small mass of coiled loops contained in a rather small abdominal cavity. Macroscopically, the stomach was of the simple type and the intestine was a short convoluted tube whose diameter decreased craniocaudally. A caecum, an appendix and a colon were absent and the only portion of the large intestine observed was a short rectum grossly identifiable only on the account of its greater diameter. Microscopically, a small initial part of the intestine bordering the pylorus was characterized by numerous pits of variable sizes and shapes. This segment preceeded the ridge-like, transversely oriented villi that occupied the rest of the foregut. These villi were tallest in the proximal parts of the foregut and decreased in height caudally, ceasing completely at the junction between the small intestine and the rectum. Goblet cells were few in the cranial part of the intestine and increased caudally, reaching a maximum in the rectum. Intestinal glands were abundant in the region between the villi but Brunner's glands were absent in the submucosa. Generally the intestine of Miniopterus resembles that of the other bats which have been studied but showed structural details suggestive of an increased digestive and absorptive efficiency.