A Morphological, Histological and Histochemical Study of the Sexual Segment of the Kidney of the Male Chamaeleo calyptratus (Veiled Chameleon)

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Mohammed Ali Al-shehri & Amin Abdullah Al-Doaiss


This study aimed to describe the morphology, histology, and histochemistry of the kidneys and the sexual segment of the kidney (SSK) in Chamaeleo calyptratus (Yemen chameleons or veiled chameleons) collected during the active reproductive season. To achieve this objective, a total of 7 mature male Chamaeleo calyptratus were captured from their natural habitats from different areas in the Aseer region of Saudi Arabia and transferred to the reptilian laboratory where their kidneys were dissected out. Next, a morphological examination was conducted on the kidneys and the SSK was processed for light microscopic examinations with the primary focus placed on the morphology and histology of the SSK. The results of the study showed that Chamaeleo calyptratus possess two, reddish-brown, attenuated kidneys divided into lobes and lobules (lobulated). The histological study showed that the chameleons had no distinct limits between the cortex and medulla of the kidneys. In general, similar with other reptiles, this lizard demonstrated that the kidneys have few nephrons, do not show any nephron loop (loop of Henle), and display few glomeruli. The nephron is generally composed of standard components: renal corpuscle, glomerulus surrounded by a double-walled, the glomerular capsule (Bowman’s capsule) and renal tubules (six renal tubular segments differentiated as the ciliated neck segment [between the glomerulus and the proximal segment], proximal segment, ciliated intermediate segment instead of nephron loop that connects proximal and distal, distal segment, terminal segment or sexual segment, and all segments emptying into the collecting ducts. The epithelial tissues lining the lumen of these segments vary from simple cuboidal cells to columnar and tall columnar cells in the SSK. Mature male Chamaeleo calyptratus possess hypertrophied parts of the distal renal segments, which are called the SSK. Histologically, the active SSK consists of simple tall columnar epithelial cells with rounded basal nuclei with clear centralized nucleoli and numerous apical coarse secretory granules which are released from the cells by an apocrine process. Histochemically, the secretory granules stain positively for proteins with mercuric bromophenol blue and react intensely to periodic acid-Schiff (PAS) for neutral carbohydrates. This is the first report about the histology of the SSK of the Chamaeleo calyptratus, and this study adds to the knowledge of the reproductive biology, biodiversity, and reproductive strategies of chameleons. Further studies are required to investigate the ultrastructure of the kidneys and SSK.

KEY WORDS: Veiled chameleon; Chamaeleo calyptratus; Reptiles; Squamata; Renal sexual segment; Histology.

How to cite this article

AL-SHEHRI, M. A. & AL-DOAISS, A. A. A morphological, histological, and histochemical study of the sexual segment of the kidneyof the male Chamaeleo calyptratus (veiled chameleon). Int. J. Morphol., 39(4):1200-1211, 2021.