Comparative morphology of scent glands in marals (Cervus elaphus sibiricus, Severtzov, 1872)
The morphological parameters of the scent skin glands of red deer from 20 adult males inhabiting park conditions in the Altai Krai (Siberia, Russian Federation) were studied. The preorbital and meibomian glands on animal heads and the caudal glands on the torso were investigated. Classical histological and statistical methods of investigation were used. Seasonal dynamics of morphological equivalents of the functional state of the glands were studied to establish the role of the glands in animal life. Morphometric parameters reflecting the functional state of the organ were measured on histological specimens (10 from each animal): diameters of terminal sections of the glands and their ducts, the height of the secretory epithelium cells, and volumes of their nuclei (the number of measurements of each parameter was 100, 50, 100, and 200, correspondingly). It is established that the preorbital gland in the red deer is a complex of sebaceous and sweat glands and performs a marking function, as evidenced by the increase in its activity in the summer period. Meibomian glands are modified sebaceous glands, performing a protective function of the eyes from the impact of various factors that increase their activity in the summer period under the influence of the temperature factor. The caudal gland is a complex structure in males in the studied periods, which does not show the seasonal dynamics of its functional state.