The epiglottis is a cartilaginous structure at the root of the tongue that folds over the glottis to prevent food or liquid from entering the trachea during swallowing.
The entire anterior surface (the part facing the tongue) and apical portion of the posterior surface (the part facing the larynx) of the epiglottis is covered by a stratified squamous epithelium. These areas are vulnerable to abrasion due to the passage food.
The rest of the posterior surface is covered by respiratory epithelium. The epithelium abruptly transitions from a stratified squamous epithelium to a pseudostratified columnar epithelium (respiratory epithelium).
Respiratory epithelium is a pseudostratified columnar epithelium with ciliated columnar cells and goblet cells.