Morphological Comparison and Taxonomic Utility of Copulatory Structures of Selected Nematode Species


  • Abdallah Rammah
  • Hedwig Hirschmann


Spicules of 9 Meloidogyne, 2 Heterodera, 3 Globodera, and 12 other plant-parasitic, insect-parasitic, and free-living nematodes were excised and examined using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Gubernacula of some of the species were also excised, and their structure was determined. The two spicules of all species examined were symmetrically identical in morphology. The spicule typically consisted of three parts: head, shaft, and blade with dorsal and ventral vela. The spicular nerve entered through the cytoplasmic core opening on the lateral outer surface of the spicule head and generally communicated with the exterior through one or two pores at the spicule tip. Spicules of Xiphinema sp. and Aporcelaimellus sp. were not composed of three typical parts, were less sclerotized, and lacked a cytoplasmic core opening and distal pores. Spicules of Aphelenchoides spp. had heads expanded into apex and rostrum and had very arcuate blades with thick dorsal and ventral edges (limbs). Gubernaculum shapes were stable within a species, but differed among species examined. The accessory structures of Hoplolaimus galeatus consisted of a tongue-shaped gubernaculum with two titillae at its distal end and a plate-like capitulum terminating distally in two flat, wing-like structures. A comparison of spicules of several species of Meloidogyne by SEM and light microscopy revealed no striking morphological differences. Key words: spicule, gubernaculum, capitulum, titillae, scanning electron microscopy, light microscopy, Aphelenchoides, Aporcelaimellus, Belonolaimus, Dolichodorus, Globodera, Heterorhabditis, Heterodera, Hoplolaimus, Meloidogyne, Mesorhabditis, Panagrellus, Tylenchorhynchus, Xiphinema.