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Using immunohistochemistry and transmission electron microscopy (TEM), the esophagus epithelia of seven domesticated mammals (horse, cattle, goat, pig, dog, laboratory rat, cat) of three nutrition groups (herbivorous, omnivorous, carnivorous) were studied to get first information about energy generation, as demonstrated by succinate dehydrogenase (SDH) activities. Distinct reaction intensities could be observed in all esophageal cell layers of the different species studied reflecting moderate to strong metabolic activities. The generally strong staining in the stratum basale indicated that new cells are continuously produced. The latter feature was confirmed by a thick, and in the horse generally highly active stratum spinosum. Only in the pig, reaction intensity variations occurred, obviously related to differences in physical feed quality or restricted feed allocation. The immunohistochemical results were corroborated by the presence of intact mitochondria in the esophageal cells of all species and nutrition types studied, except for the horse. Possible relationships between SDH reaction intensities and feed structure, mass or consistency are discussed.