The Stomach Morphology and Contents of the Chinese Pangolin (Manis pentadactyla)

Yue Min, Shibao Wu, Fuhua Zhang, Na Xu


To better understand the critically endangered Chinese pangolin (Manis pentadactyla)’s adaptation to highly specialized prey and to enrich the acknowledge of this species’ natural diet, we performed anatomic observation and contents analysis on the stomach of accidental death of Chinese pangolin. The stomach is C-shaped and consists of the cardia, fundus, body, and pylorus, weight 136.5 g, volume 120 ml, and the curve length of lesser and greater curvatures is 9.1 cm and 25.1 cm, respectively. The inner wall of the stomach is covered with the milky layer of mucosa which forms 9-10 spiral folds lapping the cardia and fundus, arranged alternately with ditches and ridges, accounting for approximately 30% of the inner surface of the stomach. These folds are soft to touch and reddish. The inner surface of the greater curvature has a pie-shaped appendix that protrudes and opens into the stomach cavity; it looks like fat tissue and is kermesinus. The pyloric tunica muscularis is thick, and the pyloric sphincter is developed. There is a mulberry-like bulge at the pylorus, named the pyloric pillow, and the pyloric gland lies below it; the pyloric pits are the size of a pen tip. The surface of pyloric pillow and nearby it is covered with yellowish spinous processes and pyloric teeth. The main component of the stomach contents was found to be the diced chitin exoskeletons of Carebara sp. with small amounts of straw, roots, and small stones, which were evenly mixed with stomach juices (pH 3). The fresh weight of the contents was 29.03 g, which accounted for approximately one-quarter of the stomach cavity volume. This study has shown that there was an adaptation of the stomach of Chinese pangolin to its diet.


Chinese Pangolin; Stomach; Morphology; Contents; Adaptation

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