The somatic musculature in trematode hermaphroditic generation (cercariae, metacercariae and adult) is presumed to comprise uniform layers of circular, longitudinal and diagonal muscle fibers of the body wall, and internal dorsoventral muscle fibers. Meanwhile, specific data are few, and there has been no analysis taking the trunk axial differentiation and regionalization into account. Yet presence of the ventral sucker (= acetabulum) morphologically divides the digenean trunk into two regions: preacetabular and postacetabular. The functional differentiation of these two regions is already evident in the nervous system organization, and the goal of our research was to investigate the somatic musculature from the same point of view.
Somatic musculature of ten trematode species was studied with use of fluorescent-labelled phalloidin and confocal microscopy. The body wall of examined species included three main muscle layers (of circular, longitudinal and diagonal fibers), and most of the species had them distinctly better developed in the preacetabuler region. In majority of the species several (up to seven) additional groups of muscle fibers were found within the body wall. Among them the anterioradial, posterioradial, anteriolateral muscle fibers, and U-shaped muscle sets were most abundant. These groups were located on the ventral surface, and associated with the ventral sucker. The additional internal musculature was quite diverse as well, and included up to twelve separate groups of muscle fibers or bundles in one species. The most dense additional bundles were found in the preacetabular region and were connected with the suckers.
Previously unknown additional somatic musculature probably provides the diverse movements of the preacetabular region, ventral sucker, and oral sucker (or anterior organ). Several additional muscle groups of the body wall (anterioradial, posterioradial, anteriolateral fibers and U-shaped sets) are proposed to be included into the musculature ground pattern of trematode hermaphroditic generation. This pattern is thought to be determined by the primary trunk morphofunctional differentiation into the preacetabular and the postacetabular regions.