Phalloidin fluorescence technique, enzyme cytochemistry and immunocytochemistry in conjunction with confocal scanning laser microscopy have been used for the first time to describe the nervous and muscle systems of the viviparous monogenean gill parasite, Macrogyrodactylus clarii. The gross spatial arrangement of muscle and associated cholinergic, peptidergic and aminergic innervations has been examined. The central nervous system (CNS) consists of paired cerebral ganglia from which emanate three pairs of longitudinal ventral, lateral and dorsal nerve cords, connected at intervals by transverse connectives. The CNS is better developed ventrally than dorsally or laterally, and has the strongest reactivity for all neuroactive substances examined. Structural and functional correlates of the neuromusculature of the pharynx, haptor and reproductive tracts have been examined. Results implicate acetylcholine, FMRFamide-related peptides (FaRPs) and serotonin in sensory and motor function in this monogenean, although confirmatory physiological data are obviously required.
- Nervous System