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Comparative Studies on the Blood of Monotremes and Marsupials - I. Haematology


R.S. Parsons, J. Atwood, E.R. Guiler and R.W.L. Heddle


Departments of Chemistry, Zoology and Anatomy, University of Tasmania, Hobart 7001, Tasmania

ABSTRACT

1. Blood from seven species of Tasmanian marsupials and one monotreme was subjected to a haematological examination and it was found that most parameters were within normal mammalian values, but considerable variation in WBC counts was noted.
2. The haemoglobin upon electrophoresis showed only one haemoglobin band in all species but biochemically two haemoglobins were identified, one being alkali resistant.
3. The alkali-resistant haemoglobin is considered as foetal in origin in Eutheria but it is found in high proportions in adult marsupials, up to 78 per cent and cannot be considered as foetal haemoglobin. The blood of Tachyglossus aculeatus (Monotremata) has 90 per cent alkali-resistant haemoglobin.

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