SHARK DISSECTIO N SQUALUS ACANTHIAS 1. Do not make deep cuts with scissors or scalpels as you may damage tissue underneath. 2. Know the anatomical terms listed next so you can follow the directions. Anatomical Terms Cranial - toward the head Caudal - toward the rear Dorsal - toward the spinal cord (back)
Ventral - toward the belly Medial - toward the middle Distal - away from Lateral - to the side 3. Read the section you are working on before you start cutting.
External Nares These are a pair of openings (nostrils) on each side of the head. Water is taken into the smaller of the two openings and expelled through the larger opening. The water passes by a sensory membrane allowing the shark to detect chemicals in the water. Spiracles These are small openings caudal from the eyes. These openings allow water to pass through the gills even when the sharks mouth is closed. Mouth Although the eating function is evident, the mouth is also used for the intake of water that passes through the gills. Gill Slits Five vertical slits which allow water to exit after passing over the gills. They are located caudally from the mouth.
Lateral Line A pale line that extends noticeably from the pectoral fin past the pelvic fin. This line is actually a group of small pores which act as a sensory organ that detects water movements. Cloaca This is the exit from the digestive tract combined with being the opening for the sex organs. The cloaca lies
between the pelvic fins. Clasper Found on male sharks only, these are fingerlike extensions of the medial edge of each pelvic fin. They may have a single spine associated with each clasper. The claspers aid in sperm transfer during mating. Fins Refer to Figure 1 and familiarize yourself with each fin and its name. Rostrum This is the pointed snout at the cranial end of the head. Dorsal Spines Just cranial to each dorsal fin is a spine that is used defensively by the shark. Each spine has a poison gland associated with it.
1. Place your shark ventral side up on the dissection tray. 2. Using scissorsblunt tip inside the shark make a cut from the left side of the jaw caudally down through the middle of the gill slits and through the pectoral girdle down to just above the cloaca. Cutting through the pectoral girdle may be difficult. Ask if you need help.
3. From the cloaca make transverse (side to side) cuts around the shark. 4. From the pectoral girdle, make transverse cuts around dorsally. Stomach This J-shaped organ is composed of a cardiac portion which lies near to the heart and a limb portion which is after the bend of the stomach. Duodenum This is a short section immediately caudal
from the stomach. It receives liver secretions known as bile from the bile duct. Liver The liver is composed of three lobes, two large and one smaller. The gall bladder is located within the smaller lobe. The bladder stores the bile secreted by the liver. Pancreas Divided into two parts: The ventral
pancreas, which is easily viewed on the ventral surface of the duodenum and the dorsal pancreas which is long and thin located behind the duodenum and extends to the spleen. Spiral Intestine Located cranially from the duodenum and distinguished by the extensive network of arteries and veins over its surface. Rectum This is the short end portion of the digestive tract between the intestine and the cloaca. The rectum stores solid wastes. Spleen Located just caudal to the stomach and proximal (before) to the spiral intestine. This organ is not part of the digestive tract, but is associated with the circulatory system.
DIGESTIVE ORGANS To view this system you need to remove all of the digestive tract 1. Remove the liver by cutting at its cranial end. 2. Cut through the esophagus where it enters the body cavity above the stomach. 3. Cut the colon at its caudal end. 4. Cut the membranes attaching the stomach, intestine, pancreas and spleen to the body wall.
This procedure exposes the sex organs, kidneys, and various ducts associated with these organs. You should be able to identify the organs listed once you have completed steps 1-4 above.
Testes The testes are oval in shape and are dorsal to where the liver was. This organ is where male gametes are produced. Epididymis The cranial part of the kidney that collects sperm. Vas Deferens A highly coiled tube that carries sperm to the seminal vesicle. Seminal vesicle An enlarged section of the vas deferens that
adds secretions to the sperm. Sperm sacs A pair of small sacs created by invaginations of the seminal vesicles that receives sperm and seminal secretions from the seminal vesicle. Siphon Produces a secretion that is expelled with the aid of the clasper during mating.
Ovaries Two cream colored organs that were dorsal to the liver and are on each side of the mid-dorsal line. Depending on the maturity of your specimen, it may or may not show eggs within each ovary. The eggs move into the body cavity and then into the oviducts when they are ready to be fertilized. Oviducts Elongated tubes that lay dorsal and lateral along the body cavity. These structures are very prominent in mature sharks. Both oviducts share a common opening
to the body cavity called the ostium. Uterus The enlarged caudal end of the oviduct. It is here that eggs develop.
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