Fine Structure of Body Wall Cuticle of Females of Eight Genera of Heteroderidae


  • G. M. Cliff
  • J. G. Baldwin


Body wall cuticle of adult females of eight genera within the Heteroderidae was examined by transmission electron microscopy for comparison with previously studied species within the family. Cuticle structure was used to test some current hypotheses of phylogeny of Heteroderidae and to evaluate intrageneric variability in cuticle layering. Verutus, Rhizonema, and Meloidodera possess striated cuticle surfaces and have the simplest layering, suggesting that striations have not necessarily arisen repeatedly in Heteroderidae through convergent or parallel evolution. Atalodera and Thecavermiculatus possess similar cuticles with derived characteristics, strengthening the hypothesis that the two genera are sister groups. Similarly, the cuticle of Cactodera resembles the specialized cuticle of Globodera and Punctodera in having a basal layer (D) and a surface layer infused with electron-dense substance. Heterodera betulae has a unique cuticle in which the thickest layer (C) is infiltrated with an electron-dense matrix. Little intrageneric difference was found between cuticles of two species of Meloidodera or between two species of Atalodera. However, Atalodera ucri has a basal layer (E) not found in other Heteroderidae. The most striking intrageneric variation in cuticle structure was observed between the thin three-layered cuticle of Sarisodera africana and the much thicker four-layered cuticle of Sarisodera hydrophila; results do not support monophyly of Sarisodera. Key words: Atalodera ucri, body wall cuticle, Cactodera sp., comparative morphology, fine structure, Heterodera betulae, Heteroderidae, Meloidodera floridensis, phylogeny, Rhizonema sequoiae, Sarisodera africana, systematics, Thecavetmiculatus gracililancea, Verutus volvingentis.