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Extrinsic muscles of the tongue. Left side. (Styloglossus visible at center top.)
Coronal section of tongue, showing intrinsic muscles. (Styloglossus labeled at center left.)
Origin Styloid process of temporal bone
Insertion tip and sides of tongue
Artery sublingual branch of the lingual artery.
Nerve Hypoglossal nerve (CN XII)
Actions retraction and elevation of tongue
Latin musculus styloglossus
TA A05.1.04.105
FMA 46692
Anatomical terms of muscle

The Styloglossus, the shortest and smallest of the three styloid muscles, arises from the anterior and lateral surfaces of the styloid process near its apex, and from the stylomandibular ligament.

Passing downward and forward between the internal and external carotid arteries, it divides upon the side of the tongue near its dorsal surface, blending with the fibers of the Longitudinalis inferior in front of the Hyoglossus; the other, oblique, overlaps the Hyoglossus and decussates with its fibers.


The styloglossus is innervated by the Hypoglossal nerve (CN XII) like all muscles of the tongue except palatoglossus which is innervated by the Pharyngeal plexus of vagus nerve (CN X).


The styloglossus draws up the sides of the tongue to create a trough for swallowing. As a pair they also aid in retracting the tongue.

Additional images[edit]


This article incorporates text in the public domain from page 1130 of the 20th edition of Gray's Anatomy (1918)

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