Scutes


A scute or scutum (Latin scutum, plural: scuta "shield") is a bony external plate or scale, as on the shell of a turtle, the skin of crocodilians, the feet of some birds or the anterior portion of the mesonotum in insects.

Properties


Scutes are similar to scales and serve the same function. Unlike the scales of lizards and snakes, which are formed from the epidermis, scutes are formed in the lower vascular layer of the skin and the epidermal element is only the top surface. Forming in the living dermis, the scutes produce a horny outer layer that is superficially similar to that of scales. Scutes will usually not overlap as snake scales (but see the pangolin). The outer keratin layer is shed piecemeal, and not in one continuous layer of skin as seen in snakes or lizards. The dermal base may contain bone and produce dermal armour. Scutes with a bony base are properly called osteoderms. Dermal scutes are also found in the feet of birds and tails of some mammals, and are believed to be the primitive form of dermal armour in reptiles.

The term is also used to describe the heavy armour of the armadillo and the extinct glyptodon, and is occasionally used as an alternative to scales in describing snakes or certain fishes, such as sturgeons, shad, herring, and menhaden.

Turtles

Main article: Turtle shell

The turtle's shell is covered by scutes formed mostly of keratin. They are built similarly to horn, beak, or nail in other species. See the main article on the Turtle shell.

Insects

The term "scutum" is also used in insect anatomy, as an alternative name for the anterior portion of the mesonotum (and, technically, the metanotum, though rarely applied in that context).

See also

sv:Fjäll_(zoologi)

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and USA.gov, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for USA.gov and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
 
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
 
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.