A scanning electron microscope technique for studying the sclerites of Cichlidogyrus
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The genus Cichlidogyrus (Monogenea: Ancyrocephalidae) includes more than 90 species, most of which are gill parasites of African cichlid fishes. Cichlidogyrus has been studied extensively in recent years, but scanning electron microscope (SEM) investigations of the isolated hard parts have not yet been undertaken. In this paper, we describe a method for isolating and scanning the sclerites of individual Cichlidogyrus worms. Twenty-year-old, formol-fixed specimens of Cichlidogyrus casuarinus were subjected to proteinase K digestion in order to release the sclerites from the surrounding soft tissues. SEM micrographs of the haptoral sclerites and the male copulatory organ are presented. The ability to digest formol-fixed specimens makes this method a useful tool for the study of historical museum collections.
KeywordsPlatyhelminthes Cichlidae Anchor MCO Male apparatus
The authors wish to thank the Belgian Federal Science Policy Office (BRAIN-be Pioneer Project BR/132/PI/TILAPIA) for financial support; E. Řehulková (Masaryk University, Czech Republic) for discussions on monogenean anatomy; and C. Allard, M. Parrent, J. Snoeks, D. Van den Spiegel, and E. Vreven for assistance with RMCA collections. M.P.M.V. is partly supported by the Czech Science Foundation project no. P505/12/G112 (ECIP). G.P. was supported by an EU Synthesis project (BE-TAF-3952). High-resolution versions of all images included in this paper will be deposited in MorphBank (www.morphbank.net).
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