Bunocotyle progenetica is a hemiuroid digenean whose sexual adults become fully developed and lay their eggs inside the rediae in the molluscan host. In this study, the fine structure of the germinal mass, brood cavity and birth canal in the B. Progenetica rediae was examined using transmission electron and confocal microscopy. The large germinal mass attached to the body wall has a cellular composition typical for this organ. The characteristic traits of this germinal mass are weakly developed supporting tissue and the presence of deep lacunae opening into the brood cavity. These lacunae presumably participate in feeding the deeply lying embryos and facilitate their release into the brood cavity. The germinal mass is also characterized by intensive degeneration of cellular elements, which may represent a mechanism controlling the offspring number, limited in this species by the size of the redial brood cavity. The brood-cavity lining consists of flattened cells bearing lamellar projections and is connected anteriorly with the epithelium of the birth canal. The brood-cavity musculature, which is well developed in other hemiuroid digeneans, is significantly reduced in B. Progenetica, most likely because their cystophorous cercariae remain inside the rediae, removing the need for muscle contractions pushing them through the brood cavity. The birth canal comprises three regions distinguished by the structure of the lining and muscle arrangement. The comparison of rediae of B. Progenetica with parthenitae of other digeneans has shown that the organization of the redial reproductive apparatus in this species may have been influenced by life-cycle modification.
Scopus subject areas
- Animal Science and Zoology