Histological and Morphological Characterization of the Digestive Tract of Southern Hake (Merluccius australis)

DOI : http://dx.doi.org/10.4067/S0717-95022014000300054
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Edison Serrano; Camila Leiva; Carlos Lonza; Juan Carlos Sánchez; Jurij Wacyk; Tatiana Zegers & Marcos Godoy


The anatomy and histology features of alimentary tract of southern hake (Merluccius australis) have been studied in order to understand the digestive physiology and formulate suitable feeds. M. australis has a short oesophagus, large y-shaped stomach and short intestine, and histologically, the digestive tract is formed by four layers: mucosa, submucosa, muscularis and serosa. The oesophagus is a short tubular thick-walled organ with a great distension capacity and abundant mucus secreting goblet cells allowing the passage of large preys. The stomach is large and muscular with high capability for distension. Pyloric caeca were not present. The intestine is short and divided into a proximal middle and distal segment. In the anterior region of the intestine was observed abundant goblet cells, which decreased in the middle region and finally dispersed in the posterior region. Additionally, enterocytes showed an increase in the presence of supranuclear vacuoles at the posterior region of the intestine. The results of this anatomical and histological study indicate that M. australis has a digestive tract similar to other gadiform fishes, which is adapted to digest and absorb protein-rich preys, mainly fish and crustacean.

KEY WORDS: Merluccius australis; Southern hake; digestive tract; histology; intestinal morphology.

How to cite this article

SERRANO, E.; LEIVA, C.; LONZA, C.; SÁNCHEZ, J. C; WACYK, J.; ZEGERS, T. & GODOY, M. Histological and morphological characterization of the digestive tract of southern hake (Merluccius australis). Int. J. Morphol., 32(3):1079-1084, 2014.