oa African Zoology - Kidney structure of a euryhaline mammal, the Cape clawless otter (Aonyx capensis)

Volume 34, Issue 4
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X



The Cape clawless otter (Aonyx capensis) is one of the few species of mammals that occur in both freshwater and marine habitats, and it therefore must be able to tolerate the high rates of water flux typical of aquatic animals as well as the desiccating effects of seawater. The clawless otter has paired, discrete multirenculate kidneys (total mass = 172 g) comprised of both unipapillary and bipapillary renculi weighing an average of 2.6 and 3.2 g, respectively. The average thickness of the cortex is 2.3 mm, and thicknesses of the outer and inner medulla are 2.4 and 6.4 mm. respectively. These measurements and the overall structure of the kidney of the Cape clawless otter are intermediate between those of freshwater and marine mammals.

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