1887

Abstract

Development of , a parasite of the red imported fire ant (), until recently was thought to include formation of two types of spores: unicellular meiospores, maturing inside sporophorous vesicles in sets of eight (octospores); and -like binuclear free spores. Megaspores, discovered in 2001, develop primarily in alates and are morphologically distinct from the two previously known types of spores. The role of megaspores in the life cycle, as well as their existence, has been questioned. The current research includes light and electron microscopic descriptions of the three major spore morphotypes characteristic of development. In addition, individual octospores and megaspores were isolated into groups of 8–20 from methanol-fixed and Calcofluor-stained smears of the infected ants for subsequent PCR analysis by the laser pressure catapulting function of a position ablative laser microbeam microscope, a technique applied for the first time to research of microsporidia. The PCR-amplified SSU rDNA nucleotide sequences from octospores and megaspores were identical. This, along with the consistency with which megaspores are detected in infected ants, demonstrates that megaspores are integral to the life cycle of .

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2004-05-01
2020-03-31
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