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Growth and Form in Nematodes: Iii. Comparison of Oesophagus and Body Shape

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image of Nematologica
For more content, see Nematology.

The nematode body is characterized by a strong interaction between body length, body width and oesophageal shape. Several studies on the post-embryonic development of free-living, plant parasitic and animal parasitic nematodes reveal that the maintenance of a vermiform shape (width usually less than 4-5% of length) is necessary for motion and that a nematode can only lose its vermiform shape when it has not to move around hunting for food. The changes in body shape during post-embryonic development are intimately linked to the structure and changes in structure of the oesophagus: a bulbous oesophagus needs a wider body than a cylindrical oesophagus; on the other hand a bulbous oesophagus is usually much shorter than a cylindrical oesophagus. The well-known changes in body shape and oesophageal structure in animal and plant-parasitic nematodes will be explained according to the observations mentioned above.

Affiliations: 1: Instituut voor Dierkunde, Rijksuniversiteit Gent, Ledeganckstraat, 35, Gent, Belgium


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