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Structure of the Anterior Alimentary Tract of Aphelenchoides Blastophthor Us (Nematoda: Tylenchida, Aphelenchina)

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The stylet shaft of Aphelenchoides blastophthorus has a porous region associated with nervous tissue, suggesting that the function of the stylet includes sensitivity to taste. Between the shaft and the stylet protractor muscles there is a single microtubular sensillum, possibly a proprioceptor, which is the modified tip of a neuron that passes back through the oesophageal tissues to the region of the nerve ring. There are six stylet protractor muscle cells; the cell bodies of these and the other cells of the procorpus lie in the anterior metacorpus. The prominent metacorpus contains not only all the oesophageal nuclei but also an extensive system of obliquely radial pump muscles, plus an additional set of muscles occupying the apical region of the bulb at its junction with the procorpus. A valve in the lumen of the metacorpus, actuated by truly radial muscles, lies between the dorsal gland duct orifice and the pump chamber. The base of the bulb surrounds a very short isthmus which also contains a valve controlled by radial muscles, with associated circular and longitudinal myofilaments in the isthmus wall. The lining of the pump chamber is of complex shape. There is an extensive system of marginal-cell filaments in the procorpus and metacorpus. These, and the muscles in the anterior bulb and isthmus possibly counteract the pull of the pump muscles and stylet protractors on the other oesophageal tissues. The oesophago-intestinal valve consists of closely apposed, unlined cell membranes as already described in some other Tylenchida. The cell bodies of the oesophago-intestinal junction cells lie alongside the anterior intestine, which is distinguished from the mid intestine by having shorter microvilli. The oesophageal gland lobe is also close, but not joined to the anterior intestine. The nerve ring surrounds the anterior intestine. The structure and working of the feeding apparatus in A. blastophthorus is discussed and compared with that described for some other nematode groups.

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


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