The distal bothridial surfaces of adult triloculate onchobothriids are covered with short structures that have been tentatively classified as very short filitriches, but this hypothesis has never been tested. Scanning electron microscopy (SEM) and transmission electron microscopy (TEM) were used to investigate microthrix morphology in the plerocercoid and adult forms of Calliobothrium cf. verticillatum, a triloculate onchobothriid tapeworm from Long Island Sound (Connecticut). Plerocercoids of C. cf. verticillatum were collected from the anterior midgut ceaca of Pagurus pollicaris Say, 1817 (flat-clawed hermit crab), and adults were collected from the spiral intestine of the dusky smooth hound Mustelis canis (Mitchell, 1815). Two plerocercoids and 2 adults were examined using SEM; 2 plerocercoids and 2 adults were examined using TEM. Microthrix distribution and morphology (including measurements of total length, base length, shaft length, and base width) were investigated on all surfaces of the plerocercoid and adult scolex. Slender filitriches and large bladelike spinitriches were observed extending from the tegument of plerocercoid and adult forms. The filitriches were found to have significantly narrower bases than the spinitriches (65–167 nm vs. 466–1,936 nm, respectively). The scolex proper of the plerocercoid and adult forms were found to have filitriches of medium-length and bladelike spinitriches. The distal bothridial surfaces differed dramatically in microthrix morphology between plerocercoid and adult forms; on the distal surfaces of the plerocercoids were long filitriches and bladelike spinitriches. However, the distal surfaces of the adults had short structures (previously hypothesized to be short filitriches) and a few bladelike spinitriches. Serial transverse sections revealed that the short structures on the distal bothridial surfaces of the adults were homologous with filitriches. They included all of the structural components of a filithrix as well as a base width that conformed to the filitriches found on other surfaces. The bothridial margins of the plerocercoid and adult forms had a microthrix pattern similar to that seen on the proximal bothridial surfaces except that the filitriches on the margins were significantly longer than those found anywhere else on the bothridia. The most dramatic difference between the plerocercoid and adult forms occurred on the distal bothridial surfaces, where the filitriches of the adult cestodes were significantly shorter and narrower, and the spinitriches were almost entirely lacking.
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