Ultrastructure of the Esophagus of Diplenteron sp. (Diplogasterida) to Test Hypotheses of Homology with Rhabditida and Tylenchida


  • Y. C. Zhang
  • J. G. Baldwin


basal bulb, caenorhabditis elegans, cephalobina, diplenteron, diplogasterida, esophagus, homology, nematode, postcorpus, rhabditida, transmission electron microscopy, ultrastructure


The ultrastructure of the isthmus and basal bulb (postcorpus) of Diplenteron sp. (Diplogasterida) was revealed through transmission electron micrographs of serial sections. The postcorpus is glandular and muscular. There are 26 cells in the postcorpus, including 6 marginal (two sets of three), 6 muscle (two sets of three), 3 gland, and 11 nerve cells. Most of the cell bodies, including the nuclei, are in the basal bulb. Unlike Caenorhabditis elegans, Diplenteron sp. has three gland cells. The glands are embedded in a muscular framework in both taxa, but each gland cell is much bigger in Diplenteron sp. than in C. elegans. Each of the anterior set of three marginal cells is located at the apex of the esophageal lumen and overlaps slightly with one of the posterior sets of three marginal cells. All six marginal cells in Diplenteron sp. have homologs in C. elegans. The anterior set of radial muscle cells is V-shaped and is homologous to m5 muscle cells in C. elegans. The posterior set of muscle cells appears to be homologous to m6 muscle cells in C. elegans. Diplenteron sp. does not have muscle cells corresponding to the m7 cells associated with the "grinder" in C. elegans, which is absent in diplogasterids. The single saucer-shaped muscle cell, m8, covering the posterior wall of the basal bulb in C. elegans was not observed in Diplenteron sp. The structure of the esophageal-intestinal junction in Diplenteron sp. is similar to that of C. elegans in being composed of five epithelial cells. Neurons appear to be more abundant in Diplenteron sp. than in C. elegans. Ultrastructure of the esophagus in diplogasterids, rhabditids, cephalobids, and tylenchids will be useful in testing classical and recent competing hypotheses of secernentean phylogeny.