Comparative Morphology of the Euglenid Pellicle. II. Diversity of Strip Substructure


Corresponding Author: B. Leander-Telephone number: 706-542-4080; FAX number: 706-542-427I; E-mail:


ABSTRACT. The morphological diversity associated with the strip substructure of the euglenid pellicle was examined, and after identifying characters and states, we outlined hypotheses about their evolution. We have attempted to standardize terms necessary for analytical comparisons of strips by providing a glossary and comparing published synonyms. Most of the substructural diversity found in euglenids is demonstrated with 13 representative taxa. Strips are generally composed of two subcomponents: frames and projections. Frames support the basic shape of strips and many can be described as either S-shaped, plateau-shaped, M-shaped, or A-shaped. Projections branch laterally from the frames, are usually periodic, and can be described as thread-like structures, an indented plate, tooth-like structures, and plate-like structures. The ancestral state included strips that were few in number, flat, and fused. The strips became S-shaped and disjoined in the lineage leading to most euglenid taxa. These strips became secondarily flattened and fused in one lineage. In some lineages of phototrophs, the strips became increasingly robust. Two strips of different morphology formed the repeating pellicular unit or doublet in four taxa. These doublets evolved convergently at least three times and may provide insights into developmental patterns of the cytoskeleton.