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The buccal capsule of the free-living nematode Caenorhabditis elegans has been analysed by serial section electron microscopy. Whereas the regions classically identified in the rhabditid buccal capsule can be distinguished, the cuticle lining does not constitute separate cuticular plates, but rather, structural-functional differentiations within a cuticle continuous with that of the esophagus. Only the lip region (cheilostom) is lined by body wall cuticle. The prostom cuticle is underlain by two rings of syncytial arcade cytoplasm connected to nine cell bodies. The mesostom cuticle is underlain by the nonmuscular epithelial cells of the esophagus, whereas the cuticle of the metastom and telostom is underlain by esophageal muscle cells m1 and m2. During moulting, buccal cuticle is produced later than body cuticle and its formation is characterized by accumulation of dense granules in both arcade and esophageal cytoplasm. It is concluded that the buccal capsule should be considered as "astomatous" in the terminology of K. A. Wright.
Adapted by Yusuf KARABEY for WORMATLAS, 2003