Fine Structure of the Stoma of Bunonema sp. and Teratorhabditis palmarum (Nematoda) and Its Phylogenetic Significance


  • C. M. Dolinski
  • J. G. Baldwin


bunonema sp., caenorhabditis elegans, cell fusion, dapi, diplogastrina, fine structure, nuclei, sem, tem, teratorhabditis palmarum


Fine structure of the stoma, including the cheilostom, gymnostom, and stegostom of Bunonema sp. and Teratorhabditis palmarum was compared with Caenorhabditis elegans to consider fine structural characters that may be phylogenetically informative. The stegostom, enclosed by the anterior end of the pharynx, includes a triradiate lumen surrounded by radial cells (interradial or pairs of adradial cells) repeated in the dorsal and subventral sectors; in Rhabditina, typically the stegostom includes anteriorly two sets of epithelial and posteriorly two sets of muscular radial cells. These muscle cells are anteriorly m1 and posteriorly m2. In Bunonema sp., unlike T. palmarum and C. elegans, the stegostom has a third set of interradial epithelial cells. In Bunonema sp., m1 is expressed by three interradial cells, whereas in T. palmarum and C. elegans m1 is three pairs of adradial muscle cells (i.e., six cells). In all three taxa m2 is expressed as three pairs of adradial muscle cells. Posterior processes of adjacent adradial cells fuse, and closely apposed nuclei may present a figure-eight shape. However, in Bunonema the three interradial m1 cells each have a long posterior process enclosing two separate round nuclei. In combination with additional characters, these diverse stoma features may prove phylogenetically informative. Specifically, the radial epithelial cells of the stegostom appear to be a synapomorphy consistent with a bunonemid-diplogastrid-rhabditid clade, whereas a thickening in the dorsal sector of the stoma cuticle lining is interpreted as a synapomorphy supporting a bunonemid-diplogastrid clade.