For purposes of description, the cells of the Malpighian tubules of the grasshopper may be divided into basal, intermediate, and apical zones.
The basal zone of the cell contains what appears to be an elaborate infolding of the cell membrane at the base. This condition results in the basal cell cytoplasm being divided into many compartments. The compartments contain mitochondria that are often arranged in rows. Other small bodies which possess relatively dense outer borders and less dense cores were observed within the compartments. These bodies are unidentified.
The brush border of the apical zone contains a multitude of vertically arranged protoplasmic processes. Stages were found which suggest that the filamentous mitochondria migrate from the cell body to the base of the protoplasmic processes, where they enter them and move apically. Some of the mitochondria were observed at the very tips of the processes where they enlarge producing an accompanying bulging of the tips. This condition is interpreted as a stage in the pinching off of the mitochondria-laden tips of the protoplasmic processes.