In situ morphology of the gut microbiota of the fungus-growing termite Odontotermes formosanus (Termitidae Macrotermitinae)

Yara, K.; Jahana, K.; Hayashi, H.

Sociobiology 15(2): 247-260


ISSN/ISBN: 0361-6525
Accession: 001858695

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The morphology of the gut microbiota of Odontotermes formosanus was examined in situ by scanning and transmission electron microscopy. Protozoa such as Gregarina were attached to the midgut epithelium, but no bacteria were observed between the epithelial microvilli. Part of the inner surface of the paunch was covered by slender cuticular spines to which some bacteria adhered. A very diverse bacterial flora, consisting of at least 17 morphotypes was found in the paunch, and among them were 4 morphotypes of spirochaetes. Besides the normal helical shapes, diverse and characteristic spherical bodies which appeared to be the cyst form of the borrelia type were observed. Nail-like spines protruded regularly from the folded and wrinkled cuticular intima of the colon. Three morphotypes of bacteria colonized and adhered to the different parts of the colonic epithelium. In the lumen of the rectum, the bacterial population was comprised mainly of long rods, aligned longitudinally. Rods swollen at the subterminal portion, were found in dense colonies only on the rectal epithelium and not on the rectal pads.