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Acta Parasitologica, Vol.44, No. 1, 1999, 31-38
Swiderski Zdzislaw (1),Tkach Vasyl V. (2) - Electron microscopical studies on the cellular organisation of the oncospheres of the hymenolepidid cestode, Staphylocystoides stefanskii (Zarnowski, 1954).

(1) W. Stefanski Institute of Parasitology, Polish Academy of Sciences, Twarda 51/55, 00-818 Warszawa, Poland; (2) I. I. Shmalghausen Institute of Zoology, Ukrainian Academy of Sciences, 15 Bogdan Khmelnitsky street, Kiev-30, MSP, 252601, Ukraine

The cellular organisation of the oncospheres of S. stefanskii has been examined by means of light and transmission electron microscopy. The reconstruction of hexacanth larvae was based on serial semithin sections and its results have been correlated with partial reconstruction from ultrathin sections. The surface of the oncospheres was covered by a thin layer of oncospheral tegument. Five major cell types have been distinguished in mature oncospheres of S. stefanskii: (1) about 10 germinative cells, situated in the posterior pole of the oncosphere; (2) about 36 somatic cells (= myocytons of somatic and hook muscles); (3) a bi-nucleate medullary centre representing a perikaryon of oncospheral tegument; (4) a bi-nucleate, U-shaped penetration gland and (5) two nerve cells containing characteristic dense-core vesicles. The total number of cells in mature oncospheres was thus about 50, while the number of nuclei was about 52. The hook-muscle system of oncospheres, composed of peripheral and hook muscles, is similar to that described in other cyclophyllideans. The oncospheral hooks were formed in specialised hook-forming cells or oncoblasts. The oncoblasts are retained in mature oncospheres only as a thin layer of anucleated cytoplasm around the hook handle region, which seems to be a common feature for the mammalian hymenolepidids. The data on the oncospheral cell types and their number are in agreement with formerly proposed hypothesis (Swiderski 1972, 1983), assuming that the progressive reduction in number of oncospheral cells is one of the characteristic features in cestode evolution.

KEY WORDS: oncospheral cell types, ultrastructure, Hymenolepididae, Staphylocystoides stefanskii
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