Fine Structure of Sperm of Ekphymatodera thomasoni (Heteroderinae, Nemata)


  • J. E. Cares
  • J. G. Baldwin


Fine structure of developing sperm of the monospecific genus, Ekphymatodera, was compared with other Heteroderinae as part of a study to recognize diversity and phylogenetically informative characters within the subfamily. Sperm of Ekphymatodera originate from germ cells connected to a central rachis, a character which is shared with Globodera, but not with other Heteoderinae. In Ekphymatodera, and cyst-forming genera, a layer of cortical microtubules lies just beneath the surface of the plasma membrane. Sperm of Ekphymatodera are unique among Heteroderinae examined by the presence of spiral surface elevations on the filopodia, a character that may prove to be a synapomorphy for Sarisoderini. Fibrous bodies are abundant in spermatids; however, they do not persist in sperm of Ekphymatodera as they do in Meloidodera and Verutus. The male gonad of Ekphymatodera is lined by epithelial cells, which are greatly enlarged near the ejaculatory canal. These enlarged cells contain vesicles with concentric lamellar inclusions, not observed in other genera of the subfamily. Sperm of Heteroderinae are rich in diversity, and examination of additional representative species may indicate new phylogenetically informative characters. Key words: Ekphymatodera thomasoni, filopodia, fine structure, Heteroderinae, lamellar inclusion, male gonad, nematode, ontogeny, phylogeny, pseudopodia, sperm, systematics, ultrastructure.