Third-stage infective larvae of Onchocerca volvulus were examined to elucidate the ultrastructure and the interrelations of the stoma, esophagus, intestine, and nervous system. The alimentary canal involves a cuticularized stoma with a triradiate lumen that is continuous with a similar triradiate lumen in the muscular region of the esophagus. The lumen wall may be laterally appressed or opened into a stellate form in the glandular region. Posteriad from the esophagointestinal valve, the cylindroid lumen becomes partially occluded with microvilli formed by the evaginations of the apical membranes of the intestinal epithelium. Cross sections, through this region reveal that groups of 5 radiating epithelial cells are joined near the lumen surface by junctional complexes. The alimentary canal terminates via a rectal valve and channel supported by somatic and neural cells. The central nervous system consists of a nerve ring that surrounds the muscular region of the esophagus. Related neurons support chemoreceptors and tactoreceptors of sensilla and the extensive coelomyarian and meromyarian somatic muscles Extensive accumulations of glycogen rosettes are present in many of the muscle and hypodermal cells.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics