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Keywords:

  • Lecithochirium musculus;
  • tegument;
  • sensory receptor;
  • functional morphology;
  • electron microscopy

Abstract

The tegumental ultrastructure of the stomach fluke Lecithochirium musculus was studied using scanning and transmission electron microscopy. The surface of the tegument was smooth and covered by transverse cytoplasmic ridges. Cobblestone-like units of the tegument were observed on the ventral surface. Invagination and evagination of the ecsoma induced variations in the tegumental surface. The ultrastructural study revealed that the tegument of L. musculus had a typical syncytial organization with a distal cytoplasm lying over a basal matrix and cytons. Two types of intra-tegumental sensory structures were observed. Type 1 sensory receptor was a domed-like fusiform structure consisting of a smooth elevation of the tegument. Four receptors of this type were observed on the anterior dorsal surface of the fluke. Three nerve bulbs filled with electron-lucent material and mitochondria composed this receptor. Hemispherical electron-dense collars were observed at the top of the nerve bulbs. Striated rootlets laid just beneath the hemispherical electron-dense collars. Type 2 sensory receptor presented two morphological variations, i.e., a bulb-like monolobed structure, and a bulb-like bilobed structure observed at two different degrees of evagination. For both variations, the nerve bulb enclosed mitochondria, electron-lucent material, and a conical electron-dense collar from which extended a striated rootlet. Numerous sensory receptors of this type were observed around the ventral sucker. J. Morphol., 2012. © 2011 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.