Scanning Microscopy


We have examined sectioned and whole teeth of Hipposideros diadema in order to provide a baseline description of bat enamel at electron microscope level. Intact and worn surfaces of whole teeth from representatives of all superfamilies of the suborder Microchiroptera, representatives of the suborder Megachiroptera, and the Ditjimanka fossil tooth have been surveyed.

Whole chiropteran teeth lend themselves well to non-destructive SEM examination; all except Dobsonia sp. showing evidence of prismatic structure at the outer surface. The majority of prisms in chiropteran enamel are horse-shoe shaped becoming rounded and complete only towards the outer enamel surface. Prism packing is typically Pattern 3 near the enamel-dentine junction and Pattern 2 where the enamel is sufficiently thick. A major feature is the consistent presence of a minor boundary plane ("seam") at the open end of horse-shoe shaped prisms. Enamel tubules were found at the enamel-dentine junction of a number of species and consistently at the outer enamel surface of one, Macroglossus minimus.

Further examination of embedded material is planned in order to quantify prism shape, prism packing and the disposition of tubules in chiropteran enamel.

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