Herein, we use scanning and transmission electron microscopy to describe the foregut (mouth, pharyngeal canal, and associated epithelia and musculature) of an adult freshwater fish blood fluke, Sanguinicola volgensis (Rašín, 1929) McIntosh, 1934, infecting the blood of sabre, Pelecus cultratus Linnaeus, 1758 (Cypriniformes: Leuciscidae) from the Volga River, Russia. Our results indicate that S. volgensis has a pharynx and lacks an oral sucker and that its pharyngeal canal acts as a peristaltic pump that sucks blood into the esophagus, whereupon digestion commences with granules secreted from the esophageal epithelium. We saw no evidence of longitudinal muscle fibers beneath the pharyngeal canal epithelium, pharyngeal glands, or pharyngeal epithelial cells or muscle cells within the pharyngeal muscular complex; collectively indicating the presence of a pharynx rather than an oral sucker. The specialized epithelial lining associated with the mouth and pharyngeal canal evidently is unique among neodermatans; it is smooth, ∼40 nm thick anteriorly, and thickens (∼250–700 nm) posteriorly as the mouth cavity transitions into the pharyngeal canal. The pharyngeal canal epithelium has lumps of dense material resembling those of the basal lamina and fibrous coat of the tegument. The actin-like material within the pharyngeal cavity epithelium could provide structural support to the pharynx.

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