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Morphological, molecular, and biological characterization of Mehdinema alii from the decorated cricket


, : Morphological, molecular, and biological characterization of Mehdinema alii from the decorated cricket. Journal of Parasitology 85(6): 1053-1064, Dec

The nematode Mehdinema alii was recovered from the decorated cricket Gryllodes sigillatus (Walker). Morphometric comparisons are presented from 3 populations. The nematode is characterized by dense arrays of spines on the cuticle of the anterior half of the body and a highly elongate, tubular stoma with a dorsal denticle in the glottoid region. Females have a protruding vulva. Young females are amphidelphic, but the anterior ovary disappears in older females bearing multiple developing juveniles. The male is monorchic with asymmetrically placed genital papillae, distally fused spicules, and a highly complex gubernaculum bearing 2 cuticularized thorns that protrude through a separate, postcloacal opening. Adult nematodes are located primarily in the hindgut, whereas juveniles or dauers occur mainly in the genital chamber of both male and female crickets. Male crickets are significantly more likely to be infected than females. This male-biased infection may be linked to the venereal transmission mechanism of the dauers. Although morphologically unusual in many respects, placement of M. alii in Diplogasterida is supported by both the morphology of the anterior digestive tract as well as analysis of its 18S rDNA sequence. These sequence data suggest that M. alii groups most closely with members of the Cylindrocorporidae.

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