Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

First Advisor

Dominique G. Homberger


The microdissection of the integument and subcutaneous structures of the head, neck, and thorax of the Domestic Turkey, Meleagris gallopavo, revealed a complex system with several distinct layers of connective tissue, smooth and striated musculature, and fat bodies (corpora adiposa). These layers show structural variations across the body surface, and the patterns of variation of the different layers correlate with one another. The smooth apterial muscles and the striated subcutaneous muscles complement each other in moving certain feather tracts. Fat tissue is deposited in the dermis as dermal fat, in the Fascia superficialis, and in distinct fat bodies associated with the F. superficialis and the constrictor layer. This fat tissue does not function only as an energy storage place but also as structural fat with crucial biomechanical roles. This study provides a first step towards taking a holistic approach to the study of the integument and subcutaneous structures and their biomechanical, physiological and structural properties.