Aquatic Mammals (1994)


Epidermal thickness and relative papillary height of the skin from the urogenital region were compared with values from the ventral aspect of the flipper and the mid-dorsal body wall. Data are from seventeen animals of seven species. Values were also compared among different species. Regional variations were not consistent among the animals of one species. The epidermis was thicker in the harbor porpoise, beluga whale and humpback whale than in the bottlenose dolphin, striped dolphin and pilot whales. The reason for this is unknown. The height of the papillae generally remained at 40-50% relative to epidermal thickness in the three areas from each animal. The significance of this in respect to epidermal cell proliferation is discussed.