Microsporidia infect the Liophloeus lentus (Insecta, Coleoptera) ovarioles, developing oocytes and eggs.
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In the ovarioles of Liophloeus lentus (Insecta, Coleoptera, Curculionidae) two types of bacteria and parasitic microorganisms belonging to Microsporidia have been found. This study shows that the different microsporidian life stages (meronts, sporonts, sporoblasts and spores) infect the outer ovariole sheath, trophic chambers, follicular cells, late previtellogenic and vitellogenic oocytes and eggs. In trophic chambers the parasites are very abundant and are distributed unevenly, i.e. their large mass occupies the syncytial cytoplasm between the nurse cell nuclei, whereas the neck region of the trophic chamber (which houses young oocytes, prefollicular cells and trophic cords) is almost free of parasites. The developing oocytes and eggs contain a lower number of parasites which are usually distributed in the cortical ooplasm. The gross morphology of the ovaries is similar in infected and non-infected specimens. Similarly, the presence of a parasite seems to not disturb the course of oogensis. The only difference was found in the ultrastructure of mitochondria in young previtellogenic oocytes. In the infected females they are unusual i.e. bigger and spherical with tubullar cristae, whereas in the non-infected insects they are elongated and have lamellar cristae. As oogenesis progresses the unusual mitochondria rapidly change their morphology and become similar to the mitochondria in non-infected females. Taking into account the distribution of parasites within the ovarioles, it is suggested that they infect growing oocytes via outer ovariole sheath and follicular epithelium rather than via trophic cords.
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Piotr Swiatek, Department of Animal Histology and Embryology, Silesian University, Bankowa 9, 40-007 Katowice, Poland