Nelsen, Olin E. Department of Biology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
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A specialized gland located around the eyes and nasal passages in marine turtles, snakes, and lizards, and in birds such as the petrels, gulls, and albatrosses, which spend much time at sea. Salt glands are compound tubular glands which apparently arise as invaginations of the epithelium of the nasal passage or from the developing conjunctival sac of the eye. In the marine turtle it is an accessory lacrimal gland which opens into the conjunctival sac. In seagoing birds and in marine lizards it opens into the nasal passageway. Salt glands copiously secrete a watery fluid containing a high percentage of salt, higher than the salt content of urine in these species. As a consequence, these animals are able to drink salt-laden seawater without experiencing the dehydration necessary to eliminate the excess salt via the kidney route. See also: Excretion; Gland
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