Ultrastructure of Gonionchus australis (Xyalidae, Nematoda)


  • Warwick L. Nicholas
  • Aimorn C. Stewart


Observations are reported on the ultrastructure of the buccal cavity, body cuticle, spermatids, spermatozoa, male genitalia, and caudal glands of Gonionchus australis. The buccal cuticle is a continuation of the pharyngeal cuticle. Anteriorly it is secreted by arcade tissue and overlaps the mouth rim; laterally it forms longitudinal tooth ridges. The non-annulated cephalic cuticle differs sharply from the remainder of the body wall cuticle. The cortical and basal zones become much thinner, while a largely structureless, lucent median zone expands to fill the bulk of the lips and lip flaps. Spermatids possess fibrous bodies, multimembrane organelles, mitochondria, and compact chromatin. The spermatozoa of G. australis resemble those of most other nematodes by the absence of the nuclear envelope and presence of fibrous bodies, mitochondria, and compact chromafin. The ejaculatory duct possesses microvilli. Two ejaculatory glands lie beside the duct. Two neurons are located within each spicule and each part of the paired gubernaculum. Caudal gland nuclei are large, with dispersed chromatin. The ducts of all three caudal glands are filled with secretory vesicles. Key words: caudal gland, cuticle, Gonionchus australis, marine nematode, spermatozoa, ultrastructure, Xyalidae.