oa African Zoology - The structure of the water-holding feathers of the Namaqua sandgrouse

Volume 8, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1562-7020
  • E-ISSN: 2224-073X



The morphology and fine structure of the feather barbules of the Namaqua Sandgrouse Pterocles namaqua are investigated histologically and experimentally by means of light microscopy, scanning electron micrography and X-ray diffraction. Proximally the barbule is helically coiled for three and a half turns and has a kidney-shaped, concave/convex transverse section. The inner concave surface is pitted, the outer convex surface smooth. The barbule is solid, consisting of three layers, and bears a number of appendages at its distal end, where it is more rounded in transverse section.

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