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The glans (/ɡlænz/,[1][2] plural "glandes" /ˈɡlændz/; from the Latin word for "acorn")[3] is a vascular structure located at the tip of the penis in male mammals or a homologous genital structure of the clitoris in female mammals.[4]


The exterior structure of the glans consists of mucous membrane, which is usually covered by foreskin or clitoral hood in naturally developed genitalia. This covering, called the prepuce, is normally retractable in adulthood.

The glans naturally joins with the inner labia, and the frenulum of the penis or clitoris. In non-technical or sexual discussions, often the word "clitoris" refers to the external glans alone, excluding the clitoral hood, frenulum, and internal body of the clitoris.[5]

Sex differences in humans[edit]

In males, the glans is known as the glans penis, while in females the glans is known as the clitoral glans.

In females, the clitoris is above the urethra. The glans of the clitoris is the most highly innervated part of the external female genitalia.[6]

Sex differences in other mammals[edit]

In spotted hyenas, the female's pseudo-penis can be distinguished from the male's penis by its greater thickness and more rounded glans.[7][8][9][10] In both male and female spotted hyenas, the base of the glans is covered with penile spines.[11][12][13]


In the development of the urinary and reproductive organs, the glans is derived from the genital tubercle.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ OED 2nd edition, 1989.
  2. ^ Entry "glans" in Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.
  3. ^ "glans" at
  4. ^ Drake, Richard L. (Richard Lee), 1950- (15 November 2015). Gray's anatomy for students. Vogl, Wayne,, Mitchell, Adam W. M.,, Gray, Henry, 1825-1861. (Third ed.). Philadelphia, PA. ISBN 9780702051319. OCLC 881508489.CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  5. ^ Puppo, Vincenzo (2011). "Anatomy of the Clitoris: Revision and Clarifications about the Anatomical Terms for the Clitoris Proposed (without Scientific Bases) by Helen O'Connell, Emmanuele Jannini, and Odile Buisson". ISRN Obstetrics and Gynecology. 2011: 261464. doi:10.5402/2011/261464. ISSN 2090-4436. PMC 3175415. PMID 21941661.
  6. ^ Carroll 2012, pp. 110–111, 252; Di Marino 2014, p. 81
  7. ^ Glickman SE, Cunha GR, Drea CM, Conley AJ and Place NJ. (2006). Mammalian sexual differentiation: lessons from the spotted hyena. Trends Endocrinol Metab 17:349–356.
  8. ^ M. G. L. Mills; Gus Mills; Heribert Hofer (1998). Hyaenas: Status Survey and Conservation Action Plan. IUCN. pp. 31–. ISBN 978-2-8317-0442-5. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  9. ^ Kevin Robert Theis (2008). Scent Marking in a Highly Social Mammalian Species, the Spotted Hyena, Crocuta Crocuta. pp. 25–. ISBN 978-1-109-03595-7. Retrieved 27 January 2013.
  10. ^ "The Truth About Hyaenas: debunking hyaena myths". Archived from the original on 15 April 2013. Retrieved 2 May 2014.
  11. ^ R. F. Ewer (1973). The Carnivores. Cornell University Press. ISBN 978-0-8014-8493-3. Retrieved 9 January 2013.
  12. ^ Richard Estes (1991). The Behavior Guide to African Mammals: Including Hoofed Mammals, Carnivores, Primates. University of California Press. ISBN 978-0-520-08085-0. Retrieved 9 January 2013. glans spines.
  13. ^ Catherine Blackledge (2003). The Story of V: A Natural History of Female Sexuality. Rutgers University Press. ISBN 978-0-8135-3455-8. Retrieved 9 January 2013. glans spines hyena.