Due to the great change in the morphology of squamate vomeronasal organ (VNO), the histomorphology characteristics of VNO in Scincella tsinlingensis were studied by light and electronic microscopy. The results indicated that the VNO of S. tsinlingensis was located at the base of nasal cavity and consisted of a mushroom body situated anteroventrally and a sensory epithelium (SE) situated dorsocaudally. SE was composed of supporting cells, receptor cells and basal cells, and the supporting cells contained secretory granules near the surface membrane. Most of receptor cells were irregular in shape with long cytoplasmic extensions and characterized by microtubules, vesicles, and mitochondria. The basal cells with long cytoplasmic extensions were also irregular in shape and appeared a greater electron density than others. The thick nerve bundles were found on the dorsomedial area of VNO, and the surface of mushroom body was non-sensory epithelium consisting of ciliated and basal cells, without goblet cells. Epithelial cells were arranged in irregular, with many cilia and microvilli distributed on its free surface. Cells on the basal layer were irregularly circular in shape and arranged sparsely. Taken together, the results indicated that the fine structure of VNO in S. tsinlingensis was similar to other species from scincomorphs.
KEY WORDS: Scincella tsinlingensis; Vomeronasal organ; Histomorphology.