The alimentary canal of Daphnia pulex consists of a tube-shaped foregut, a midgut (mesenteron) with an anterior pair of small diverticula, and a short hindgut. The foregut and hindgut are structurally similar. Each is formed by a low cuboidal epithelium 5 mum tall and lined with a chitinous intima. The midgut wall consists of a simple epithelium resting on a thick beaded basal lamina which is surrounded by a spiraling muscularis. Anteriorly the midgut cells are columnar in shape being 30 mum in height each having a basal nucleus, anteriorly concentrated mitochondria and in apical border of long thin microvilli. Posteriorly the midgut cells become progressively shorter so that in the posteriormost region of the midgut the cells are 5 mum tall and cuboidal in shape. The microvilli concomitantly become shorter and thicker. All mesenteron cells contain the usual cytoplasmic organelles. The paired digestive diverticula are simple evaginations of the midgut. The wall of each consists of a simple epithelium of cuboidal cells 25 mum in height, each with a brushed border of long thin microvilli. Enzyme secretion appears to be holocrine in mode and not confined to any one region of the mesenteron though definitely polarized anteriorly. The thin gut muscularis encircles the entire length of the midgut and caeca. Thick and thin filaments appear to be in a 6:1 ratio.
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