Bauhaus-Universität Weimar

The Cyclopaedia of Anatomy and Physiology, vol. 4: Pla [corr.: Ple] - Wri
Todd, Robert Bentley
capsules of serpents are likewise distinctly 
tabulated, and very vascular. In other re¬ 
spects, too, the arrangement of the vascular 
system exhibits much that is interesting ; but 
to this we shall hereafter return. They 
always lie closely on the venae renales abdu- 
centes ; and, according to the course taken 
by the vessels just named, they are sometimes 
nearer, sometimes farther from, the testicles 
and ovary. 
JBatrachia. Formerly many zootomists 
regarded as supra-renal capsules those pecu¬ 
liar yellow finger-shaped masses of fat, which, 
in these animals, lie superficially to the kid¬ 
neys, and possess a connection with the sexual 
organs, in the periodical increase of which 
they take a share. Only recently have the 
true supra-renal capsules been recognised ; 
and to these the fatty bodies just mentioned 
have not the remotest resemblance. To 
Rathke* §, Retzius-J-, Gruby J, and others, we 
owe the discovery and description of these 
organs ; the signification of which receives 
an additional and complete confirmation from 
minute anatomy, as will be hereafter shown. 
Here the supra-renal capsules no longer form 
an organ anatomically defined, but are imme¬ 
diately deposited on the abdominal surface of 
the substance of the kidneys. 
Among the tailless Batrachia, they appear 
in this situation as a golden-yellow streak, 
which does not extend the whole length of 
the kidney, but ceases at a distance of one 
line from its upper, and of two lines from its 
lower, end. These supra-renal organs also 
allow a lobular composition to be very dis¬ 
tinctly discerned ; and they do not extend 
along the kidney in a straight line, but usually 
digress into the arched form. They surround 
the trunks of the efferent renal veins at their 
exit from the substance of the kidney ; so 
that they seem to be, as it were, perforated 
by this vessel. By a more careful investiga¬ 
tion one may satisfy one’s self that the glands 
are really imbedded in the coats of these 
vessels. In the tailed Batrachia, on the 
other hand, we no longer find the supra-renal 
capsules in the shape of this connected streak, 
but broken up on all sides into from twenty 
to thirty separate and irregular lobules. These 
are seated, partly in the substance of the 
kidney at its inner border, partly between 
the kidney and the inferior cava ; while they 
are also partly deposited on the coats of the 
latter vessel, and the gland-lobules have the 
same relation to the efferent renal veins as in 
the tailless Batrachians. 
Finally, amongst all the orders of Reptilia, 
the supra-renal capsules are least recognised 
in the Chelonia. The statements formerly 
made by Bojanus §, that the supra-renal cap- 
* Beitrage zur Geschichte der Thierwelt, Dritte 
Abtheilung, Halle, 1825, S. 34. 
+ Vide the treatise of Nagel. 
j Annales des Sciences Naturelles. Zoologie, 
Seconde Serie, tom. xvii. p. 209. 
§ Anatome Testudinis, Wilnæ, 1819—21. Folio 
cum tab. 
suies were two long bodies, situated at the 
inner margin of the kidneys, and a similar 
statement of Nagel *, have been lately cor¬ 
rected by Ecker.f According to the last in¬ 
quirer, the supra-renal capsules of the Tes¬ 
tudo græca altogether correspond, both as 
regards form and situation, with the similar 
organs of the Frog ; since they lie on the 
abdominal surface of the kidney, imbedded in 
its mass, and extend almost the whole length 
of this organ. 
In Fishes the supra-renal capsules again 
appear ; but, as regards their situation, form, 
and number, they are much more diverse than 
in the other Vertebrata. The supra-renal 
organs of the cartilaginous fishes were dis¬ 
covered, a long time ago, by Retzius.J For 
a knowledge of them in the osseous fishes, we 
are especially indebted to Stannius and Ecker. 
In the osseous fishes they appear as small, 
whitish corpuscles, of the size of from a pin’s 
head to a pea. Their form is, in general, 
roundish or oval ; their surface is sometimes 
smooth, sometimes rugged, and broken up 
into lobules, as is the case in the Pike. Ac¬ 
cording to the observations of Stannius, they 
have not unfrequently a kidney-shaped form 
in the Haddock ; and, according to Ecker, 
they are sometimes triangular in the Salmon. 
The number and situation of the supra¬ 
renal capsules varies greatly in this group of 
fishes. The presence of two supra-renal 
capsules ought to be regarded as the rule. 
They usually lie symmetrically in both halves 
of the body, as in the higher animals ; they 
may also occur a-symmetrically, or only in one 
half of the body, as in the genus Pleuro- 
nectes ; or they may be behind each other, as 
in the genus Scomber. 
But frequently, the supra-renal capsules are 
present in great number ; in which case their 
position becomes altogether irregular. Thus 
one meets with three, four, six, or even more 
supra-renal organs ; and Ecker has observed 
as many as six in the Salmon. In the Pike, in 
which only two to three supra-renal capsules 
are present in the adult animal, the inquirer 
just mentioned found that, in a young animal 
of one foot in length, the whole kidney was 
beset with a great number of very small supra¬ 
renal organs. I have myself remarked the 
same condition, and occurring exactly in the 
manner described, in two Pikes of the same 
size : but, on the other hand, in another in¬ 
stance it was absent. 
As to the situation of the supra-renal 
organs in the bony fishes, this also is subject 
to very great differences. Sometimes these 
glands lie more on the abdominal, sometimes 
on the spinal, surface of the kidneys. The 
former seems more frequently to happen ; and 
in this case they generally project at the 
hinder end of the kidney, from the anterior 
margin of the haemal canal of the inferior 
* Loc. cit. 
f Loc. cit. 
j Observations in Anatomiam Chondroptery- 
gyiorum. Lund. 1819, 4to.


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