Structure of the ovary and the differentiation of follicular epithelium in the pig louse, Haematopinus suis (Insecta: Phthiraptera)
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The female reproductive system of the pig louse, Haematopinus suis (Insecta: Phthiraptera) is composed of paired ovaries, lateral oviducts, and a common oviduct that leads into a vagina. Clusters of mycetocytes (= cells filled with symbiotic organisms) are associated with lateral oviducts. Each ovary is composed of five loosely arranged ovarioles of the polytrophic-meroistic type. An individual ovariole is covered by a basal lamina and is composed of a terminal filament, germarium, and vitellarium. The terminal filament is composed of large, disc-shaped cells that are orientated perpendicularly to the long axis of the ovariole. The basal part of the terminal filament is separated from the germarium by a well-developed transverse septum. The germarium is short and filled with clusters of oogonial cells. In each cluster the cells are joined by intercellular bridges, filled with fusomal material. Within the cluster, only one cell, the future oocyte, enters the prophase of the first meiotic division; the other cells differentiate into nurse cells. The basal part of the germarium is filled with the somatic prefollicular cells. The boundary between the germarium and the vitellarium is not distinct. The vitellarium contains linearly arranged ovarian follicles in subsequent stages of oogenesis (previtellogenesis, vitellogenesis and choriogenesis). Each follicle consists of an oocyte and 7 nurse cells and is surrounded by follicular cells. During oogenesis the follicular cells diversify, so that ultimately, five morphologically distinct subpopulations of these cells can be distinguished: (1) cells in contact with the nurse cells, (2) anterior cells, (3) mainbody cells, (4) posterior cells, and (5) interfollicular cells. Interestingly, the follicular cells associated with the anterior part of the oocyte, i.e. located in space at the oocyte/nurse cell border (fold cells) are mitotically active throughout previtellogenesis. It might be suggested, in this context, that the separation of the oocyte from the nurse cell compartment is brought about by mitotic divisions, consequent multiplication and centripetal migration of these cells.
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Monika Zelazowska, Department of Systematic Zoology, Institute of Zoology, Jagiellonian University, R. Ingardena 6, 30-060 Krakow, Poland