14 Important Terms Associated with the Phylum Nematoda (Nematodes)

phylum nematodaPhoto by USDAgov

There are very important terms associated with the study of the phylum nematoda that biologists and zoologists make reference to in teaching and in research. These terms are very important because they give a better understanding of the phylum nematoda in areas such as its morphology, habitat, pathogenicity and laboratory diagnosis. 

Below is a list of 14 important terms associated with is medically significant phylum.

  • Alae: (Cervical and caudal): Wing-like expansions of the cuticle.
  • Bosses: Small wart-like processes present on the cuticle of some nematodes.
  • Buccal capsule: The cavity of the mouth.
  • Bursa copulatrix: An umbrella-like expansion of the posterior extremity of males belonging to the superfamily Strongyloidea; it is supported by ribs, or rays, of stouter tissue.
  • Chitin: A term used to indicate, in a broad way, a substance differing from the cuticle in being much harder. Chemically it differs from the chitin of arthropods.
  • Cloaca: The common cavity in male nematodes into which the intestine and vas deferens discharge; absent in females.
  • Filariform: Applied to the oesophagus of a larval nematode when it is long compared with the length of the larva and is not dilated posteriorly into a bulb; also applied to the larva when its oesphagus shows these characters.
  • Gubernaculum: A chitinous elevation on the dorsal wall of the cloaca which function in guiding the spicules during copulation.
  • Lateral chords or lines: Whitish lines situated laterally, one on each side and extending the whole length of the worm in the subcuticular tissue.
  • Oviparous: The term applies to a female which lays eggs.
  • Papillae: (Cervical and anal). Minute, finger-like protuberances of the cuticle in the vicinity of the oesophagus or anus (in some species).
  • Rhabditiform: A name applied to the oesophagus of a nematode when the oesophagus is short compared with the length of the larva, and is dilated posteriorly into a bulb; also applied to the larva itself when its oespohagus possesses these characters.
  • Spicules: Elongated, rod-like bodies, protusile and functioning as accessory male reproductive organs.
  • Viviparous: This term is applied to a female which gives birth to larvae, the eggs having in the uterus.


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Tony Onwujiariri
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