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In zootomy, the integumentary system is often the largest organ system of an animal, comprising skin, hair, feathers, scales, nails, skin glands and their products (sweat, slime). It distinguishes, separates, protects, and informs the animal with regard to its surroundings. Small bodied invertebrates of aquatic or continually moist habitats respire at their outer layer (integument). This gas exchange system, where gasses simply diffuse into and out of the interstitial fluid, is called integumentary exchange.

In botany, the integument refers to the envelope of an ovule.

The name comes from the Latin integumentum, which means "to cover".


The major components of the integumentary system are the cutaneous membrane (skin), and its accessory structures (hair, nails, exocrine glands).

Cutaneous glands include:

  • Sudoriferous glands - or sweat glands
  • Sebaceous glands - oil-producing glands
  • Ceruminous glands - glands of the ear canal that produce cerumen (earwax)
  • Mammary glands - milk-producing glands located in the breasts

See also

Dermatology is the branch of medicine dealing with the integumentary system. As skin is the most visible organ, skin appearance or symptoms provides important clues not only to skin diseases but also to disorders of other organs, such as the liver. Skin is also the most vulnerable organ system because of exposure to radiation, trauma, infection, and harmful chemicals.


Human organ systems
Cardiovascular system - Digestive system - Endocrine system - Immune system - Integumentary system - Lymphatic system - Muscular system - Nervous system - Skeletal system - Reproductive system - Respiratory system - Urinary system

ca:Sistema integumentari eo:Tegumenta sistemo es:Sistema integumentario fa:دستگاه پوششی io:Tegumenta sistemo ko:외피 기관 ru:Кожа и её производные sr:Покровни систем

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