Absence of Microorganisms in Crustacean Digestive Tracts

Science  09 Jun 1978:
Vol. 200, Issue 4346, pp. 1157-1159
DOI: 10.1126/science.200.4346.1157


Two marine and one terrestrial wood-boring isopod species and one wood-inhabiting amphipod species maintain a digestive tract free of microorganisms. Digestive tracts examined in toto with the scanning electron microscope were devoid of microorganisms. In contrast, the outer exoskeleton surfaces of these crustaceans support a dense bacterialflora. Observations of the hindgut of termites revealed a diverse gut microflora as expected.