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1 October 2010 A Note on the Specific Cuticle Structure of Wool Hairs in Otters (Lutrinae)
Rachel Kuhn, Wilfried Meyer
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The cuticle structure of the wool hairs (secondary hairs) of six otter species was examined by scanning electron microscopy to clarify the specific function of this hair type in the Lutrinae. The species studied were chosen according to the different genera, climatic regions, and degrees of association to water of the Lutrinae. Independent of their preferred habitats, the cuticle of every wool hair examined exhibited in all animals a rather similar shape and arrangement of the scales. This specific adaptive feature allows a flexible interlocking of adjacent wool hairs, which also helps to form thin wool hair bundles that surround small oval shaped spaces. Thus, the trapping of an effective insulating air layer is facilitated and heat loss from the body is reduced.

© 2010 Zoological Society of Japan
Rachel Kuhn and Wilfried Meyer "A Note on the Specific Cuticle Structure of Wool Hairs in Otters (Lutrinae)," Zoological Science 27(10), 826-829, (1 October 2010).
Received: 17 April 2010; Accepted: 9 May 2010; Published: 1 October 2010

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