Morphological features of mermithid nematodes (Mermithidae) were studied with scanning electron microscopy, using hexamethyldisilazane-air drying in comparison with critical point drying via liquid carbon dioxide. Although general morphologic preservation of both HMDS-dried and CP-dried specimens was similar, structural features of the complex cuticle and internal organization were more easily resolved at higher magnifications in the HMDS-dried nematodes. These features include the superficial cuticular annulations, the fibrillar inner cuticle and peg-like microtrabeculae. The previously undescribed microtrabeculae are of special interest since they may facilitate an interaction of the mermithid (and perhaps nameatodes in general) musculature with its body wall that, at least in part, may account for the unique thrashing locomotion so characteristic of these organisms.

Included in

Biochemistry Commons