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Defaecation Behaviour of Aphelenchoides Blastophthorus

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For more content, see Nematology.

The mechanism of defaecation in Aphelenchoides blastophthorus was studied by cinemicrography. A complex, folded prerectal valve, usually open, separates the prerectum from the posterior intestine proper. The similarly folded rectal valve, usually closed, separates the prerectum and rectum. In the male the prerectal valve is further forward, and the rectum longer, than in the female. Before defaecation, the hind third to half of the body shortens, displacing the gut contents forward. In defaecation, a backward-going sequence of re-elongation followed by localised shortening in the body wall causes gut contents to fill the posterior intestine and prerectum. The faeces are isolated in the prerectum when the prerectal valve closes, pass through the rectal valve and dilate the rectum as the anterior prerectum closes, and finally are ejected when the anus opens. After defaecation the posterior body re-elongates and the prerectal valve and prerectum open. The rectal valve and rectum remain closed until the next defaecation cycle. Each tailward-running zone of localised elongation and shortening affects the viscous body musculature and organs. Because the zone operates within a cuticle that extends little circumferentially, it causes, in conjunction with specialised muscles, coordinated opening and closing of the prerectal valve, prerectum, rectal valve and rectum. Thus, the observed movements bring about the translocation of gut contents occurring in defaecation.

Affiliations: 1: Rothamsted Experimental Station, Harpenden, Herts., England


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