Filenchus fungivorus n. sp., isolated from autumn bellflower (Gentiana scrabra Bunge) in Japan and maintained on a fungus culture, is described based on LM, SEM and molecular data. The new species is characterised by combination of the following features: two lateral lines, short body (284-331 μm), short stylet (7.0-8.7 μm), amphid aperture associated with characteristic depression, short ovary, undifferentiated spermatheca, post-vulval sac shorter than corresponding body diam. and short (59-80 μm) non-filiform, almost straight tail and absence of males. According to a principal component analysis, a small tail/vulva-anus (1.3-1.8) and V′ ratio have the highest morphometrical power to separate F. fungivorus n. sp. from the remaining analysed Filenchus spp. (with the exception of F. misellus). Molecular analyses based on SSU rDNA placed F. fungivorus n. sp. within a clade that contained Filenchus sp. (heathland, Belgium), F. (Ottolenchus) discrepans, Malenchus andrassyi and F. misellus. However, the position of this clade could not be resolved within the Tylenchomorpha. Although the phylogenetic analyses, confirmed by Shimodaira-Hasegawa tests, significantly rejected the monophyly of Filenchus (P < 0.001), F. fungivorus n. sp. is placed within Filenchus in anticipation of a review of the Tylenchidae.
Halicephalobus gingivalis, classified as a free-living nematode, is a known facultative parasite of horses, zebras and humans. However, detailed information concerning its internal morphology is lacking, especially in relation to possible adaptations to its lifestyle as a facultative parasite. The research presented here uses TEM and PI staining to analyse the morphology of the intestine of H. gingivalis. Specimens cultured under different conditions were included to determine if differences in ultrastructure are induced by culturing method. TEM analysis revealed that the intestinal tract comprises a single layer of cells in which nine pairs of nuclei can be distinguished. Further, unusual dichotomously and trichotomously branched microvilli were observed next to finger-like cylindrical microvilli, the latter being the most commonly described form in nematodes. Finally, three different types of secretion vesicles, i.e., spherical (type I), thread-like (type II) and enlarged globular (type III), occurred independently from each other along the intestinal tract. The relationship of morphological adaptations of the microvilli to parasitism in nematodes is discussed.
The female reproductive system of the free-living nematode family Cephalobidae is examined by means of differential interference contrast, scanning electron and fluorescent microscopy. The model nematode Caenorhabditis elegans and the predatory nematode Prionchulus punctatus are also included in this study; the former mainly to test our results with the very detailed knowledge of this model organism, the latter to provide a representative of the more distantly related Enoplea. In this comparative approach, the analysed gonad structures are discussed with respect to their functional and phylogenetic significance. The general cellular composition of the cephalobid gonad – namely an oviduct comprising two rows of four cells, a distinctly offset spermatheca consisting of 8-16 cells, and a uterus composed of distinct cell rows – differs from all known Nematoda except that of the plant-parasitic Tylenchomorpha. Despite the striking evolutionary conservation of the cellular architecture of the cephalobid gonad there is a complex subcellular specialisation, namely a significant and functionally relevant variation in myofilament organisation, both among Cephalobidae and between major groups of nematodes. We demonstrate the presence of microfilaments that vary in pattern among species and that may play an important role in egg propulsion. The phenomenon of endotokia matricida, in which eggs do not leave the female body, is found to be associated with a massive rupture of the cytoskeleton in the uterus wall. The complexity of the myofibril structure and the associated potential to propagate oocytes actively cannot be solely explained by differences in phylogenetic history, but is also linked to body diameter. In the larger Acrobeloides maximus, the proximal end of the ovary sheath is adorned with 12 distinct longitudinal bands, antibody binding positively for paramyosin, while in the smaller Cephalobus cubaensis myofilament organisation is at random.
As a comparative counterpart for the model organism Caenorhabditis elegans, the nematode Pristionchus pacificus was established as a satellite organism to study developmental processes. However, these studies mainly focused on post-embryonic development and little is known about the early embryonic development. Using 4D microscopy we reconstructed the early embryonic cell lineage of 12 individuals of P. pacificus. By analysing several parameters of early development, including the division sequence, the spatial arrangement of blastomeres, the cell cycle patterns of the AB lineage and cell-cell contacts in different cell stages of the embryo, it was shown that the early embryonic development is nearly identical to C. elegans. Known cell-cell contacts necessary for induction of blastomere fates in C. elegans are also present in P. pacificus. Thus, the spatio-temporal conditions that would allow possible homologous inductions are present. However, at least one model for blastomere specification seems not to apply to P. pacificus since the third division in the AB lineage differs from that of C. elegans. Furthermore, naturally occurring variability of early development was demonstrated, which is clearly permitted since there seems to be no influence on further development into an adult worm.
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