External genitalia are the reproductive organs necessary for efficient copulation and internal fertilization in various mammalian species. Their morphogeneses display significant morphological and developmental differences among species. The house musk shrew, Suncus murinus (hereafter described as suncus) is a species of the order Insectivora, which has been considered as primitive and one of the earliest eutheria phylogenetically. Comparative anatomical analyses of phylogenetically different mammals will contribute to the better understanding of morphological diversity of external genitalia. This study performed various anatomical and histological analyses concerning the organization of the external genitalia of male suncus. It was shown that the external genitalia of suncus possessed a muscular structure, which we proposed as musculus ischiocavernosus dorsalis of suncus. The musculus ischiocavernosus dorsalis is originated from the inner surface of the tuber ischiadicum and was allocated adjacent to the corpus cavernosum penis. In addition, a pair of α-smooth muscle actin positive muscles was located bilaterally to the urethra. This unique morphology of the external genitalia of suncus males may provide a unique model system to investigate genital morphogenesis.
male external genitalia