International Microbiology, Vol 3, No 4 (2000)

Canaleparolina darwiniensis, gen. nov., sp. nov., and other pillotinaceae spirochetes from insects

Andrew Wier, Jon Ashen, Lynn Margulis


We describe two new pillotinaceous spirochetes (Canaleparolina darwiniensis, Diplocalyx cryptotermitidis) and identify for the first time Hollandina pterotermitidisfrom both the subterranean termite Cryptotermes cavifrons and the wood-eating cockroach Cryptocercus punctulatus based on morphometric analysis of transmission electron micrographic thin sections. C. darwiniensis, gen. nov., sp. nov., limited to near Darwin, Australia, invariably is present on the surface of the treponeme-studded trichomonad Mixotricha paradoxa, a consistent inhabitant of the hindgut of healthy termite Mastotermes darwiniensis. The spirochete both attached to the surface of protists and free-swimming in the paunch (hindgut) lumen of the insect has 16 periplasmic flagella (16:32:16) and imbricated wall structures that resemble flattened crenulations of Pillotina. The flagella surround half the protoplasmic cylinder. C. darwiniensis is the largest (0.5 μm diameter × 25 μm length) of the three epibiotic bacteria (two spirochetes, one rod) that comprise the complex cortex of its host Mixotricha paradoxa. Several criteria distinguish Diplocalyx cryptotermitidis sp. nov. isolated from Cryptotermes cavifrons intestine: smaller diameter, fewer flagella, absence of inner and outer coats of the outer membrane, wider angle subtended by its flagella and, most notably, cytoplasmic tubuleassociated centers, which are periodic electron dense spheres within the protoplasmic cylinder from which emanate cytoplasmic tubules up to 24 nm in diameter. This is also the first report of abundant populations of Hollandina in Cryptotermes cavifrons (those populations belong to the species H. pterotermitidis). Morphometric analysis of the first thin sections of any spirochetes (published nearly 40 years ago by A.V. Grimstone) permits us to identify the large (0.9 μm diameter) free-swimming intestinal symbiont of Cryptocercus punctulatus also as Hollandina pterotermitidis.

Full Text: PDF

Sello de Calidad FECYT



5-year Impact Factor of International Microbiology is 2,10.

The journal is covered in several leading abstracting and indexing databases, including the following ones: AFSA Marine Biotechnology Abstracts; Biological Abstracts; Biotechnology Research Abstracts; BIOSIS Previews; CAB Abstracts; Chemical Abstracts; Current Contents–Agriculture, Biology & Environmental Sciences; EBSCO; Embase; Food Science and Technology Abstracts; Google Scholar; IEDCYT; IBECS; Latíndex; MedBioWorld; PubMed; SciELO-Spain; Science Citation Index Expanded; Scopus


Creative Commons License

This work, including photographs and other illustrations, unless the contrary is indicated, is subject to an Attributions–Non-Commercial–ShareAlike 3.0 Creative Commons License, the full text of which can be consulted at You are free to share, copy, distribute and transmit the work provided that the author is credited and reuse of the material is restricted to non-commercial purposes only and that if you alter, transform, or build upon this work, you may distribute the resulting work only under the same or similar license to this one. 


Copyright ® 2013 by Spanish Society for Microbiology (SEM)