Micromastigotes scottae sp. nov. (Parabasalida: Spirotrichonymphina): Twist on the Hypermastigida

This study redescribes the genus Micromastigotes, Hollande and Carruette-Valentin, 1971, a parabasalid flagellate symbiotic in termites, on the basis of light and electron microscopy and erects a new species, M. scottae. The genus Micromastigotes is characterised by possessing flagella bands which spiral around the anterior portion of the cell, the location of the nucleus and Golgi bodies at the base of the anterior flagellated area, and an axostyle which runs the length of the cell. Individual flagella are derived from the central axis of the cell exiting perpendicularly, each is offset from the preceding flagellum by 12 - 18° thus forming a spiral band. Ultrastructurally, the flagella bases form a structure resembling a spiral staircase. Peltoaxostylar and preaxostylar fibres arise from the anterior most kinetosomes and the striated lamina forms a weakly undulating sheet directed posteriorly from each flagellum. Dense lamina and parabasal fibres are absent. Micromastigotes was originally classified as part of the Spirotrichonymphina and there are some similarities to other genera in this group, but Micromastigotes lacks a flagellar gutter, a U-shaped band at the base of the flagella composed of the striated and dense lamina, which is diagnostic of the spirotrichonymphines. The spiralisation pattern in Micromastigotes is not consistent with previous schemes for the development of a polymastigont condition in spirotrichonymphines suggesting that Micromastigotes may represent an independent derivation of a polymastigont condition from a trichomonad-like ancestor.


Cameron, S.L., Turner, C.& O'Donoghue, P.J. 2008 04 30: Micromastigotes scottae sp. nov. (Parabasalida: Spirotrichonymphina): Twist on the Hypermastigida. Memoirs of the Queensland Museum 52(2): 127–138. Brisbane. ISSN 0079-8835.

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    Date of publication

    30 April 2008


    Stephen L. Cameron

    Coralyn D. Turner

    Peter J. O'Donoghue