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Structure of the Anterior Alimentary Tract of the Passively Feeding Nematode Hexatylus Viviparus (Neotylenchidae: Tylenchida)

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Following the observations of Doncaster & Seymour (1974) that H. viviparus passively ingests the contents of fungal cells, electron microscopy has confirmed that modifications to some features of the anterior alimentary tract are associated with this method of feeding. These we have interpreted as follows. The oesophagus is a straight tube with a very narrow, oval-shaped, cuticle-lined lumen, of the same cross-sectional area as the stylet lumen (about 0.02-0.03 μm2). At no point is the lumen triradiate. The oesophagus leads, via the oesophago-intestinal valve, into an anterior-intestinal region which also has a narrow lumen (about 1 μm across) lined with short microvilli. This in turn leads into the mid intestine, which has a much wider lumen lined with long microvilli that, unlike those of the anterior intestine, have a sculptured outer coat. The oesophageal glands lie alongside the anterior intestine and the gland ducts pass up through the oesophageal wall. The two subventral gland ducts enter the oesophageal lumen anterior to the oesophago-intestinal valve and the dorsal gland duct enters just behind the stylet base. There is no musculature or other contractile tissue associated with the oesophagus. The nerve ring is circum-intestinal.

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


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