FUNCTIONAL ASPECTS OF THE LOWER SIZE-LIMIT OF NEMATODES BY D. R. ROGGEN 1) Instituut voor Dierkunde, Rijksuniversiteit, Gent, Belgium A theoretical investigation of the form-function relationship in the pharynx of nematodes leads to the conclusion that there exists a lower limit to the length of the pharynx and, a f ortiori, to the length of the body. This minimal length can be lowered only by decreasing the internal hydrostatic pressure in the body cavity. A low pressure will interfere with the locomotion of the nematode and it is to be expected that very small nematodes will show atypical ways of locomotion. This seems indeed to be the case. Harris & Crofton (1957) came to the conclusion that "the mechanical factors which determine the general features of nematodes will thus be independent of the scale on which the model is built". Although this rule is valid for the majority of nematodes, it does not hold for the smallest ones, as we will now try to show. Let us first consider how the nematode pharynx functions as a self-sealing valve. When the lumen is completely opened and the radial muscles relax, the lumen will close under the influence of the
Nematologica – Brill
Published: Jan 1, 1970
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