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Photoelastic Stress Analysis of a Nematode Stylet

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For more content, see Nematology.

To study the mechanics and design of the tylenchid stylet, stress-distributions were determined photoelastically in transparent plastics models representing longitudinal sections of the stylet of Heterodera cruciferae. Models loaded to represent natural stresses were viewed in a plane polariscope and lines of principal stress (compressive and tensile) constructed from the resulting patterns of isoclinic lines. The plane polariscope is described and details of the method are given. With a symmetrical axial load, compressive stress lines run from the tip along the shaft and fan out into the knobs, and form an arched group with the feet of the arch on the posterolateral faces of the knobs. Tensile stress lines join the protractor muscle attachments to each other and also run across the shaft. Stress lines loop round a positive isotropic point between the knobs, where there is maximum bending moment, and diverge from a negative point at the shaft base where bending moment is least. Bending of stylets when probing food cells is illustrated and changes in stress-direction, when bending is simulated in models, are shown. Compressive stress values and elastic (Young's) modulus of stylet material are calculated and suggest that the material is a collagen. Design of stylets, relative to their mechanical requirements, is discussed, taking account of shaft and tip taper, aperture placement, muscle attachment areas, orientation of knobs and form of the transition curve between knobs and shaft.

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


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