Morphology and fine structure of the gravid uterus of three hymenolepidid tapeworm species (Platyhelminthes: Cestoda)

David Bruce Conn, Lisa A. Forman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

38 Scopus citations


The ultrastructure of the uterus in gravid proglottids of Hymenolepis citelli, Vampirolepis nana and Vampirolepis microstoma was examined using transmission and scanning electron microscopy. The cellular and subcellular structures were similar in all three species, consisting basically of a syncytial layer attached to a basal extracellular matrix. All nuclei were juxtaluminal and each contained a single large centrally located nucleolus and prominent masses of central and peripheral heterochromatin. The cytoplasm showed evidence suggesting a high level of protein synthesis and secretion. It consisted primarily of granular endoplasmic reticulum with moderately dilated cisternae; most cistemae were completely filled with an electron-lucent flocculent material, but others contained electron-dense granules. Free ribosomes and mitochondria were also present. The apical plasma membrane and a small amount of enclosed cytoplasm were folded into long microlamellae that extended into the uterine lumen. Larger epithelial folds and villi consisting of folded portions of the entire epithelium projected into the uterine lumen. The uterine epithelium along with its basal extracellular matrix and underlying cellular parenchyma were folded into the lumen at several points, forming epitheliomesenchymal folds and villi that closely apposed many of the eggs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)95-103
Number of pages9
JournalInvertebrate Reproduction and Development
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 1993


  • Cestoda
  • Electron microscopy
  • Hymenolepis
  • Platyhelminthes
  • Reproductive system
  • Ultrastructure
  • Uterus
  • Vampirolepis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Developmental Biology


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