An ultrastructural study of the ovarian follicles and their associated oviducts of the cestode Gyrocotyle urna Grube et Wagener, 1852, a parasite from the spiral valve of the rabbit fish, Chimaera monstrosa L., was undertaken. Each follicle gives rise to follicular oviduct, which opens into one of the five collecting ducts, through which pass mature oocytes. These collecting ducts open into an ovarian receptacle which, in turn, opens via a muscular sphincter (the oocapt) to the main oviduct. The maturation of oocytes surrounded by the syncytial interstitial cells within the ovarian follicles of G. urna follows a pattern similar to that in Eucestoda. The ooplasm of mature oocytes contain lipid droplets (2.0 x 1.8 microm) and cortical granules (0.26 x 0.19 microm). The cytoplasm of primary and secondary oocytes contains centrioles, indicating the presence of the so-called "centriole cycle" during oocyte divisions. A morphological variation between different oviducts was observed. The luminal surface of the follicular and the collecting oviducts is smooth. The zones of the septate junctions are present within the distal portion of the net-like epithelial wall of the collecting ducts close to the ovarian receptacle. The syncytial epithelial lining of the ovarian receptacle, oocapt and main oviduct is covered with lamellae and cilia. Cortical granules secreted from mature oocytes occur freely within the lumen of the main oviduct that functions as a fertilisation canal. A division of the ovary into separated parts with their own collecting ducts as that typical of Gyrocotyle has been observed in neodermates, basal monogenean family Chimaericolidae, and Neoophora (some Proseriata and Fecampiidae). Ultrastructural data thus reveal several unique morphological characteristics of gyrocotylideans, the most basal taxon of tapeworms (Cestoda).
L. Poddubnaya, R. Kuchta, T. Scholz