Comparative study of the innervation patterns of the hyobranchial musculature in three iguanian lizards: Sceloporus undulatus, Pseudotrapelus sinaitus, and Chamaeleo jacksonii

Jay J. Meyers, Anthony Herrel, Kiisa C Nishikawa

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9 Scopus citations


The neuroanatomy and musculature of the hyobranchial system was studied in three species of iguanian lizards: Sceloporus undulatus, Pseudotrapelus sinaitus, and Chamaeleo jacksonii. The goal of this study was to describe and compare the innervation and arrangement of the hyobranchial musculature in the context of its function during tongue protrusion. A comparison of the hyobranchial innervation patterns revealed a relatively conserved innervation pattern in S. undulatus and P. sinaitus, and a modified version of this basic layout in C. jacksonii. All three species show anastomoses between sensory neurons of the trigeminal nerve and motor neurons of the hypoglossal nerve, suggesting that feedback may be important in coordinating tongue, jaw, and hyoid movements. The hyobranchial musculature of S. undulatus is very similar to that of P. sinaitus; however, there are minor differences, including the presence of an M. genioglossus internus (GGI) muscle in S. undulatus. Further differences are found mainly in functional aspects of the hyobranchial musculature, such as changes in the muscle lengths and the origins and insertions of the muscles. In C. jacksonii the hyobranchial system is comprised of largely the same components, but it has become highly modified compared to the other two species. Based on the innervation and morphological data gathered here, we propose a revision of the terminology for the hyobranchial musculature in iguanian lizards.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)177-189
Number of pages13
JournalAnatomical Record
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 1 2002



  • Chamaeleo
  • Hyobranchium
  • Lizard
  • Nerve innervation
  • Pseudotrapelus
  • Sceloporus

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Anatomy

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