Protuberances on the cocoon surface of the leech, Theromyzon tessulatum, are roughly parallel rows of triangular prisms arranged equidistantly to each other on the outer surface of the cocoon membrane. The distance between neighboring protuberances is ∼1.6 μm, the height ∼0.5 μm and the semi-width ∼0.3 μm. The fibrillar arrangement within the protuberance maintains some elements of the helicoids found within the cocoon membrane but a high proportion of large holes disrupt the symmetry of the protuberance ultrastructure. A procedure for 3D reconstruction of the protuberance using the complementarity between the paratangential and normal sections through the cocoon is presented. Our results demonstrate that the ultrastructure of protuberances show elements of a twisted fibrillar arrangement, but the demands of filling a narrow space ruled by acute angles appears to cause a high degree of ultrastructural disorganization.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Developmental Biology
- Cell Biology