Teratological Development in the Cephalic Anatomy of the Nematode Romanomermis culicivorax


  • K. A. Wright
  • S. Richter


Adults of Romanomermis culicivorax obtained from mass cultures were examined by scanning and transmission electron microscopy to determine the organization of their anterior sense organs. The normal pattern apparently consists of two lateral amphids plus six cephalic papillae. Lateral cephalic papillae contain two sense organs, each with a cuticular pore, while subdorsal and subventral papillae have three sense organs, each with a cuticular pore. About 30% of females and 80% of males examined showed aberrant developments in these sense organs. Both cuticle and underlying cells (hypodermis and neurons) are affected; some sense organs are absent while others are incompletely formed. Few aberrant worms were found in a smaller collection of worms reared in lower population densities. Perhaps aberrant forms are examples of teratological development resulting from, or promoted by, conditions used for mass rearing of biological control agents. Key words: teratology, sense organs, electron microscopy, Romanomermis culicivorax.