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Sample records for arachnidism

  1. Arachnid lipoproteins: comparative aspects.

    PubMed

    Cunningham, Mónica; Garcia, Fernando; Pollero, Ricardo J

    2007-01-01

    Findings on hemolymph lipoproteins in the class Arachnida are reviewed in relation to their lipid and protein compositions, hydrated densities, the capacity of apoproteins to bind lipids, and the influence of xenobiotics on their structures and functionality. The occurrence of hemolymphatic lipoproteins in arachnids has been reported in species belonging to the orders Araneida, Scorpionida, Solpugida and Acarina. However, lipoproteins were properly characterized in only three species, Eurypelma californicum, Polybetes pythagoricus and Latrodectus mirabilis. Like insect and crustaceans the arachnids examined contain high density lipoproteins (HDLs) as predominant circulating lipoproteins. Although in most arachnids these particles resemble those of insect HDLs called "lipophorins", in two arachnid species they differ from lipophorins in their apoproteins, total mass and lipid composition. The hemolymph of P. pythagoricus and L. mirabilis contains another HDL of higher density, while P. pythagoricus and E. californicum hemolymph contain a third lipoprotein of very high density (VHDL). Composition of arachnid lipoproteins regarding apoprotein classes as well as lipid classes differ among species. Hemocyanin, in addition to the classical role of this protein as respiratory pigment, is presented here performing the function of apolipoprotein in some arachnid species. Reports on experiments demonstrating the capacity of hemocyanin to bind neutral and polar lipid classes, including ecdysteroids, are commented. Recent works about the changes evoked by a phosphorous pesticide on the structures and functionality of spider lipoproteins are also reviewed. PMID:16887396

  2. Antivenom treatment in arachnidism.

    PubMed

    Isbister, Geoffrey K; Graudins, Andis; White, Julian; Warrell, David

    2003-01-01

    Envenomation by arachnids causes significant medical illness worldwide. Scorpion sting is the most important arachnid envenomation causing adult morbidity and pediatric mortality. Important groups of spiders include the widow spiders (Latrodectus spp.), the recluse spiders (Loxosceles spp.), and two spiders confined to single countries: the Australian funnel web spider (Atrax and Hadronyche spp.) and the armed spider (Phoneutria spp.) from Brazil. There are four widow spider antivenoms available, including the Australian redback spider antivenom and the American black widow antivenom. Despite good in vitro animal work demonstrating effective neutralization with these antivenoms, and cross-reactivity between many species, there continues to be a reluctance to use them in some countries. They are both associated with a relatively low rate of allergic reactions. Redback antivenom is routinely used by the intramuscular route, which may not be as effective as intravenous use based on clinical experience and animal studies. Antivenoms are available for Loxosceles spp., but there is little evidence to support their effectiveness, particularly against local effects. The Australian funnel web spider causes severe neurotoxic envenomation, and antivenom appears to be effective in reported cases. An antivenom exists for the Brazilian armed spider, but is used in only a minority of cases. Many scorpion antivenoms exist worldwide, but there remains significant controversy regarding their efficacy. Animal and human venom level studies demonstrate neutralization of circulating venom in systemic envenomation. Clinical experience in countries where antivenom has been introduced suggests it has reduced pediatric mortality. However, three controlled trials demonstrated that antivenom was not effective, but these included few severe cases. Until controlled trials of antivenom in systemically envenomated patients are undertaken, antivenom use appears justified in severe envenomation

  3. Terrestrial locomotion in arachnids.

    PubMed

    Spagna, Joseph C; Peattie, Anne M

    2012-05-01

    In this review, we assess the current state of knowledge on terrestrial locomotion in Arachnida. Arachnids represent a single diverse (>100,000 species) clade containing well-defined subgroups (at both the order and subordinal levels) that vary morphologically around a basic body plan, yet exhibit highly disparate limb usage, running performance, and tarsal attachment mechanisms. Spiders (Araneae), scorpions (Scorpiones), and harvestmen (Opiliones) have received the most attention in the literature, while some orders have never been subject to rigorous mechanical characterization. Most well-characterized taxa move with gaits analogous to the alternating tripod gaits that characterize fast-moving Insecta - alternating tetrapods or alternating tripods (when one pair of legs is lifted from the ground for some other function). However, between taxa, there is considerable variation in the regularity of phasing between legs. Both large and small spiders appear to show a large amount of variation in the distribution of foot-ground contact, even between consecutive step-cycles of a single run. Mechanisms for attachment to vertical surfaces also vary, and may depend on tufts of adhesive hairs, fluid adhesives, silks, or a combination of these. We conclude that Arachnida, particularly with improvements in microelectronic force sensing technology, can serve as a powerful study system for understanding the kinematics, dynamics, and ecological correlates of sprawled-posture locomotion. PMID:22326455

  4. The health problem of arachnidism

    PubMed Central

    Maretić, Z.; Stanić, M.

    1954-01-01

    The authors give data on arachnidism (the systemic poisoning caused by the bite of the spider Latrodectus) in general, on its distribution in the world and in Yugoslavia in particular, on the Latrodectus spider, and on the characteristic clinical syndrome of arachnidism. The bite of the Latrodectus causes great pain, disables the bitten person for a certain time, and may even cause death in a few instances. The results of the authors' own observations in the clinic and on experimental animals are given. Of all forms of therapy tried by them, the simultaneous application of calcium, antivenom, and sometimes procaine infiltration for the relief of local pains gave the best results. In view of the apparently increasing importance of arachnidism, the authors recommend the international exchange of experience on the problem. ImagesFIG. 1 PMID:14364184

  5. Theory of Arachnid Prey Localization

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Stürzl, W.; Kempter, R.; van Hemmen, J. L.

    2000-06-01

    Sand scorpions and many other arachnids locate their prey through highly sensitive slit sensilla at the tips (tarsi) of their eight legs. This sensor array responds to vibrations with stimulus-locked action potentials encoding the target direction. We present a neuronal model to account for stimulus angle determination using a population of second-order neurons, each receiving excitatory input from one tarsus and inhibition from a triad opposite to it. The input opens a time window whose width determines a neuron's firing probability. Stochastic optimization is realized through tuning the balance between excitation and inhibition. The agreement with experiments on the sand scorpion is excellent.

  6. An Extensive Case of Dermonecrotic Arachnidism

    PubMed Central

    Divito, Sherrie J.; Haught, Justin M.; English, Joseph C.

    2009-01-01

    Dermonecrotic arachnidism is the potential cutaneous reaction to spider bite venom. The yellow sac spider, genus Cheiracanthium, is historically considered capable of inducing dermonecrotic lesions. However, recently this belief has been hotly debated. In this article, the authors provide a brief review of dermonecrotic arachnidism and describe a case of a 20-year-old man who developed severe necrosis and edema of the left thigh, buttock, penis, and scrotum following the bite of a yellow sac spider. Notably, the patient wore a tight-fitting garment for multiple hours following the spider bite, thus compressing the envenomated tissue. This is the first case reporting such severe dermonecrosis resulting from a yellow sac spider bite and highlights the potential effects of tissue compression following spider envenomation. PMID:20729958

  7. Arachnids Secrete a Fluid over Their Adhesive Pads

    PubMed Central

    Peattie, Anne M.; Dirks, Jan-Henning; Henriques, Sérgio; Federle, Walter

    2011-01-01

    Background Many arachnids possess adhesive pads on their feet that help them climb smooth surfaces and capture prey. Spider and gecko adhesives have converged on a branched, hairy structure, which theoretically allows them to adhere solely by dry (solid-solid) intermolecular interactions. Indeed, the consensus in the literature is that spiders and their smooth-padded relatives, the solifugids, adhere without the aid of a secretion. Methodology and Principal Findings We investigated the adhesive contact zone of living spiders, solifugids and mites using interference reflection microscopy, which allows the detection of thin liquid films. Like insects, all the arachnids we studied left behind hydrophobic fluid footprints on glass (mean refractive index: 1.48–1.50; contact angle: 3.7–11.2°). Fluid was not always secreted continuously, suggesting that pads can function in both wet and dry modes. We measured the attachment forces of single adhesive setae from tarantulas (Grammostola rosea) by attaching them to a bending beam with a known spring constant and filming the resulting deflection. Individual spider setae showed a lower static friction at rest (26%±2.8 SE of the peak friction) than single gecko setae (Thecadactylus rapicauda; 96%±1.7 SE). This may be explained by the fact that spider setae continued to release fluid after isolation from the animal, lubricating the contact zone. Significance This finding implies that tarsal secretions occur within all major groups of terrestrial arthropods with adhesive pads. The presence of liquid in an adhesive contact zone has important consequences for attachment performance, improving adhesion to rough surfaces and introducing rate-dependent effects. Our results leave geckos and anoles as the only known representatives of truly dry adhesive pads in nature. Engineers seeking biological inspiration for synthetic adhesives should consider whether model species with fluid secretions are appropriate to their design goals

  8. Arachnids misidentified as brown recluse spiders by medical personnel and other authorities in North America.

    PubMed

    Vetter, Richard S

    2009-09-15

    Misidentification of harmless or nearly benign arachnids as Loxosceles spiders by medical personnel and other authorities proliferates misinformation in regard to alleged loxoscelism and leads to decreased health care. This is especially true in areas of North America where Loxosceles spiders are rare or non-existent. A diverse assemblage of such misidentified arachnids is presented here. It is hoped that authorities will honestly assess their arachnological limitations and, instead, seek qualified arachnologists for spider identifications. PMID:19446575

  9. ARACHNID: A prototype object-oriented database tool for distributed systems

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Younger, Herbert; Oreilly, John; Frogner, Bjorn

    1994-01-01

    This paper discusses the results of a Phase 2 SBIR project sponsored by NASA and performed by MIMD Systems, Inc. A major objective of this project was to develop specific concepts for improved performance in accessing large databases. An object-oriented and distributed approach was used for the general design, while a geographical decomposition was used as a specific solution. The resulting software framework is called ARACHNID. The Faint Source Catalog developed by NASA was the initial database testbed. This is a database of many giga-bytes, where an order of magnitude improvement in query speed is being sought. This database contains faint infrared point sources obtained from telescope measurements of the sky. A geographical decomposition of this database is an attractive approach to dividing it into pieces. Each piece can then be searched on individual processors with only a weak data linkage between the processors being required. As a further demonstration of the concepts implemented in ARACHNID, a tourist information system is discussed. This version of ARACHNID is the commercial result of the project. It is a distributed, networked, database application where speed, maintenance, and reliability are important considerations. This paper focuses on the design concepts and technologies that form the basis for ARACHNID.

  10. Unnoticed in the tropics: phylogenomic resolution of the poorly known arachnid order Ricinulei (Arachnida)

    PubMed Central

    Fernández, Rosa; Giribet, Gonzalo

    2015-01-01

    Ricinulei are among the most obscure and cryptic arachnid orders, constituting a micro-diverse group with extreme endemism. The 76 extant species described to date are grouped in three genera: Ricinoides, from tropical Western and Central Africa, and the two Neotropical genera Cryptocellus and Pseudocellus. Until now, a single molecular phylogeny of Ricinulei has been published, recovering the African Ricinoides as the sister group of the American Pseudocellus and providing evidence for the diversification of the order pre-dating the fragmentation of Gondwana. Here, we present, to our knowledge, the first phylogenomic study of this neglected arachnid order based on data from five transcriptomes obtained from the five major mitochondrial lineages of Ricinulei. Our results, based on up to more than 2000 genes, strongly support a clade containing Pseudocellus and Cryptocellus, constituting the American group of Ricinulei, with the African Ricinoides nesting outside. Our dating of the diversification of the African and American clades using a 76 gene data matrix with 90% gene occupancy indicates that this arachnid lineage was distributed in the South American, North American and African plates of Gondwana and that its diversification is concordant with a biogeographic scenario (both for pattern and tempo) of Gondwanan vicariance. PMID:26543583

  11. Fossil evidence for the origin of spider spinnerets, and a proposed arachnid order

    PubMed Central

    Selden, Paul A.; Shear, William A.; Sutton, Mark D.

    2008-01-01

    Silk production from opisthosomal glands is a defining characteristic of spiders (Araneae). Silk emerges from spigots (modified setae) borne on spinnerets (modified appendages). Spigots from Attercopus fimbriunguis, from Middle Devonian (386 Ma) strata of Gilboa, New York, were described in 1989 as evidence for the oldest spider and the first use of silk by animals. Slightly younger (374 Ma) material from South Mountain, New York, conspecific with A. fimbriunguis, includes spigots and other evidence that elucidate the evolution of early Araneae and the origin of spider silk. No known Attercopus spigots, including the original specimen, occur on true spinnerets but are arranged along the edges of plates. Spinnerets originated from biramous appendages of opisthosomal somites 4 and 5; although present in Limulus, no other arachnids have opisthosomal appendage homologues on these segments. The spigot arrangement in Attercopus shows a primitive state before the reexpression of the dormant genetic mechanism that gave rise to spinnerets in later spiders. Enigmatic flagellar structures originally described as Arachnida incertae sedis, are shown to be Attercopus anal flagella, as found in Permarachne, also originally described as a spider. An arachnid order, Uraraneida, is erected for a plesion, including these two genera, based on this combination of characters. The inability of Uraraneida precisely to control silk weaving suggests its original use as a wrapping, lining, or homing material. PMID:19104044

  12. Chromosomal characteristics of a Brazilian whip spider (Amblypygi) and evolutionary relationships with other arachnid orders.

    PubMed

    Paula-Neto, E; Araujo, D; Carvalho, L S; Cella, D M; Schneider, M C

    2013-01-01

    We analyzed mitotic and meiotic cells of a Brazilian amblypygid, Heterophrynus longicornis, using conventional and molecular cytogenetic techniques (Giemsa staining, C-banding, Ag-NOR, and FISH with rDNA probe). This is the first study that focuses solely on amblypygid chromosomes; it was undertaken to add data on cytogenetic knowledge of this group and contribute to the understanding of chromosome evolution in the Arachnida. We found 2n = 66 for male and female individuals, monocentric chromosomes, and absence of morphologically differentiated sex chromosomes. C-banding showed heterochromatin in the pericentromeric region of most chromosomes. Mitotic and meiotic nuclei submitted to silver impregnation and FISH revealed, respectively, Ag-NORs and ribosomal genes in the terminal region of two chromosome pairs. Most chromosome features that we observed in H. longicornis are shared with species of other arachnid orders; however, the absence of morphologically differentiated sex chromosomes in amblypygid contrasts with the remarkable variety of sex chromosome systems recorded for the Araneae. Consequently, we conclude that analysis of species of the Tetrapulmonata clade is useful for understanding the trends of sex chromosome evolution in this arachnid group. PMID:24085433

  13. Neofunctionalization of a Duplicate dachshund Gene Underlies the Evolution of a Novel Leg Segment in Arachnids.

    PubMed

    Turetzek, Natascha; Pechmann, Matthias; Schomburg, Christoph; Schneider, Julia; Prpic, Nikola-Michael

    2016-01-01

    The acquisition of a novel function, or neofunctionalization, protects duplicated genes from redundancy and subsequent loss, and is a major force that drives adaptive evolution. Neofunctionalization has been inferred for many duplicated genes based on differences in regulation between the parental gene and its duplicate. However, only few studies actually link the new function of a duplicated gene to a novel morphological or physiological character of the organism. Here we show that the duplication of dachshund (dac) in arachnids (spiders and allies) is linked with the evolution of a novel leg segment, the patella. We have studied dac genes in two distantly related spider species, the entelegyne spider Parasteatoda tepidariorum and the haplogyne spider Pholcus phalangioides. Both species possess two paralogous dac genes that duplicated before the split between entelegyne and haplogyne spiders. In contrast to the evolutionarily highly conserved dac1, its duplicate dac2 is strongly expressed in the patella leg segment during embryogenesis in both species. Using parental RNA interference in P. tepidariorum we show that dac2 is required for the development of the patella segment. If dac2 function is impaired, then the patella is fused with the tibia into a single leg segment. Thus, removing the function of dac2 experimentally reverts P. tepidariorum leg morphology into a stage before the duplication of dac and the evolution of the patella segment. Our results indicate that the origin of the patella is the result of the duplication and subsequent neofunctionalization of dac in the arachnid lineage. PMID:26443673

  14. Artificial spider: eight-legged arachnid and autonomous learning of locomotion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Alshurafa, Nabil I.; Harmon, Justin T.

    2006-05-01

    Evolution has produced organisms whose locomotive agility and adaptivity mock the difficulty faced by robotic scientists. The problem of locomotion, which nature has solved so well, is surprisingly complex and difficult. We explore the ability of an artificial eight-legged arachnid, or animat, to autonomously learn a locomotive gait in a three-dimensional environment. We take a physics-based approach at modeling the world and the virtual body of the animat. The arachnid-like animat learns muscular control functions using simulated annealing techniques, which attempts to maximize forward velocity and minimize energy expenditure. We experiment with varying the weight of these parameters and the resulting locomotive gaits. We perform two experiments in which the first is a naive physics model of the body and world which uses point-masses and idealized joints and muscles. The second experiment is a more realistic simulation using rigid body elements with distributed mass, friction, motors, and mechanical joints. By emphasizing physical aspects we wish to minimize, a number of interesting gaits emerge.

  15. From the stretcher to the pharmacy's shelf: drug leads from medically important brazilian venomous arachnid species.

    PubMed

    Rates, Breno; Verano-Braga, Thiago; Santos, Daniel Moreira; Nunes, Kênia Pedrosa; Pimenta, Adriano M C; De Lima, Maria Elena

    2011-10-01

    Accidents involving venomous animals have always caught the attention of mankind due to their lethality and other clinical implications. However, since the molecules obtained from animal venoms have been the product of millions of years of evolutionary process, toxins could be used to probe physiological mechanisms and could serve as leads for drug development. The present work reviews the state of the art pertaining to venom molecules from Brazilian medically important arachnid species bearing potential biotechnological applications. Special focus is given to toxins isolated from the scorpion Tityus serrulatus and the spiders Phoneutria nigriventer and Lycosa erythrognatha, whose venoms possess molecules acting as erectile function modulators and as antihypertensive, analgesic, neuroprotective and antimicrobial agents. PMID:21824079

  16. Almost a spider: a 305-million-year-old fossil arachnid and spider origins.

    PubMed

    Garwood, Russell J; Dunlop, Jason A; Selden, Paul A; Spencer, Alan R T; Atwood, Robert C; Vo, Nghia T; Drakopoulos, Michael

    2016-03-30

    Spiders are an important animal group, with a long history. Details of their origins remain limited, with little knowledge of their stem group, and no insights into the sequence of character acquisition during spider evolution. We describe a new fossil arachnid, Idmonarachne brasierigen. et sp. nov. from the Late Carboniferous (Stephanian,ca 305-299 Ma) of Montceau-les-Mines, France. It is three-dimensionally preserved within a siderite concretion, allowing both laboratory- and synchrotron-based phase-contrast computed tomography reconstruction. The latter is a first for siderite-hosted fossils and has allowed us to investigate fine anatomical details. Although distinctly spider-like in habitus, this remarkable fossil lacks a key diagnostic character of Araneae: spinnerets on the underside of the opisthosoma. It also lacks a flagelliform telson found in the recently recognized, spider-related, Devonian-Permian Uraraneida. Cladistic analysis resolves our new fossil as sister group to the spiders: the spider stem-group comprises the uraraneids and I. brasieri While we are unable to demonstrate the presence of spigots in this fossil, the recovered phylogeny suggests the earliest character to evolve on the spider stem-group is the secretion of silk. This would have been followed by the loss of a flagelliform telson, and then the ability to spin silk using spinnerets. This last innovation defines the true spiders, significantly post-dates the origins of silk, and may be a key to the group's success. The Montceau-les-Mines locality has previously yielded a mesothele spider (with spinnerets). Evidently, Late Palaeozoic spiders lived alongside Palaeozoic arachnid grades which approached the spider condition, but did not express the full suite of crown-group autapomorphies. PMID:27030415

  17. Almost a spider: a 305-million-year-old fossil arachnid and spider origins

    PubMed Central

    Garwood, Russell J.; Dunlop, Jason A.; Selden, Paul A.; Spencer, Alan R. T.; Atwood, Robert C.; Vo, Nghia T.; Drakopoulos, Michael

    2016-01-01

    Spiders are an important animal group, with a long history. Details of their origins remain limited, with little knowledge of their stem group, and no insights into the sequence of character acquisition during spider evolution. We describe a new fossil arachnid, Idmonarachne brasieri gen. et sp. nov. from the Late Carboniferous (Stephanian, ca 305–299 Ma) of Montceau-les-Mines, France. It is three-dimensionally preserved within a siderite concretion, allowing both laboratory- and synchrotron-based phase-contrast computed tomography reconstruction. The latter is a first for siderite-hosted fossils and has allowed us to investigate fine anatomical details. Although distinctly spider-like in habitus, this remarkable fossil lacks a key diagnostic character of Araneae: spinnerets on the underside of the opisthosoma. It also lacks a flagelliform telson found in the recently recognized, spider-related, Devonian–Permian Uraraneida. Cladistic analysis resolves our new fossil as sister group to the spiders: the spider stem-group comprises the uraraneids and I. brasieri. While we are unable to demonstrate the presence of spigots in this fossil, the recovered phylogeny suggests the earliest character to evolve on the spider stem-group is the secretion of silk. This would have been followed by the loss of a flagelliform telson, and then the ability to spin silk using spinnerets. This last innovation defines the true spiders, significantly post-dates the origins of silk, and may be a key to the group's success. The Montceau-les-Mines locality has previously yielded a mesothele spider (with spinnerets). Evidently, Late Palaeozoic spiders lived alongside Palaeozoic arachnid grades which approached the spider condition, but did not express the full suite of crown-group autapomorphies. PMID:27030415

  18. Streamlining DNA Barcoding Protocols: Automated DNA Extraction and a New cox1 Primer in Arachnid Systematics

    PubMed Central

    Vidergar, Nina; Toplak, Nataša; Kuntner, Matjaž

    2014-01-01

    Background DNA barcoding is a popular tool in taxonomic and phylogenetic studies, but for most animal lineages protocols for obtaining the barcoding sequences—mitochondrial cytochrome C oxidase subunit I (cox1 AKA CO1)—are not standardized. Our aim was to explore an optimal strategy for arachnids, focusing on the species-richest lineage, spiders by (1) improving an automated DNA extraction protocol, (2) testing the performance of commonly used primer combinations, and (3) developing a new cox1 primer suitable for more efficient alignment and phylogenetic analyses. Methodology We used exemplars of 15 species from all major spider clades, processed a range of spider tissues of varying size and quality, optimized genomic DNA extraction using the MagMAX Express magnetic particle processor—an automated high throughput DNA extraction system—and tested cox1 amplification protocols emphasizing the standard barcoding region using ten routinely employed primer pairs. Results The best results were obtained with the commonly used Folmer primers (LCO1490/HCO2198) that capture the standard barcode region, and with the C1-J-2183/C1-N-2776 primer pair that amplifies its extension. However, C1-J-2183 is designed too close to HCO2198 for well-interpreted, continuous sequence data, and in practice the resulting sequences from the two primer pairs rarely overlap. We therefore designed a new forward primer C1-J-2123 60 base pairs upstream of the C1-J-2183 binding site. The success rate of this new primer (93%) matched that of C1-J-2183. Conclusions The use of C1-J-2123 allows full, indel-free overlap of sequences obtained with the standard Folmer primers and with C1-J-2123 primer pair. Our preliminary tests suggest that in addition to spiders, C1-J-2123 will also perform in other arachnids and several other invertebrates. We provide optimal PCR protocols for these primer sets, and recommend using them for systematic efforts beyond DNA barcoding. PMID:25415202

  19. Comparative genomic study of arachnid immune systems indicates loss of beta-1,3-glucanase-related proteins and the immune deficiency pathway.

    PubMed

    Bechsgaard, J; Vanthournout, B; Funch, P; Vestbo, S; Gibbs, R A; Richards, S; Sanggaard, K W; Enghild, J J; Bilde, T

    2016-02-01

    Analyses of arthropod genomes have shown that the genes in the different innate humoral immune responses are conserved. These genes encode proteins that are involved in immune signalling pathways that recognize pathogens and activate immune responses. These immune responses include phagocytosis, encapsulation of the pathogen and production of effector molecules for pathogen elimination. So far, most studies have focused on insects leaving other major arthropod groups largely unexplored. Here, we annotate the immune-related genes of six arachnid genomes and present evidence for a conserved pattern of some immune genes, but also evolutionary changes in the arachnid immune system. Specifically, our results suggest that the family of recognition molecules of beta-1,3-glucanase-related proteins (βGRPs) and the genes from the immune deficiency (IMD) signalling pathway have been lost in a common ancestor of arachnids. These findings are consistent with previous work suggesting that the humoral immune effector proteins are constitutively produced in arachnids in contrast to insects, where these have to be induced. Further functional studies are needed to verify this. We further show that the full haemolymph clotting cascade found in the horseshoe crab is retrieved in most arachnid genomes. Tetranychus lacks at least one major component, although it is possible that this cascade could still function through recruitment of a different protein. The gel-forming protein in horseshoe crabs, coagulogen, was not recovered in any of the arachnid genomes; however, it is possible that the arachnid clot consists of a related protein, spätzle, that is present in all of the genomes. PMID:26528622

  20. Evidence for air movement signals in the agonistic behaviour of a nocturnal arachnid (order Amblypygi).

    PubMed

    Santer, Roger D; Hebets, Eileen A

    2011-01-01

    Many arthropods possess filiform hair sensilla (termed trichobothria in arachnids), which are extremely sensitive detectors of medium particle displacement. Electrophysiological evidence in some taxa suggests that these sensilla can detect air particle displacements resulting from intraspecific communication signals. However, it has not yet been shown for any species that the air particle displacements detected by the filiform hairs are themselves perceived as a 'signal' (i.e. that individuals make behavioural decisions based upon the responses of these organs to the displays of conspecifics). We investigate the agonistic behaviour of the whip spider Phrynus marginemaculatus and the role of its trichobothria in receiving agonistic signals. Whip spiders have extremely elongated 'antenniform' first legs, which they vibrate close to their opponents during agonistic interactions, inducing air movements that excite their opponents' trichobothria. We find that ablation of the trichobothria causes significant increases in: (I) contest duration, and (II) the probability of contest escalation past aggressive displays to physical fighting. Therefore, in the absence of air movement-sensitive sensilla, contest assessment is impaired. This suggests that whip spiders exploit true air movement signals during agonistic interactions, and that these are received by the trichobothria. Furthermore, these results indicate that, in whip spiders, such signals help mitigate the cost of agonistic interaction. PMID:21853035

  1. Evidence for Air Movement Signals in the Agonistic Behaviour of a Nocturnal Arachnid (Order Amblypygi)

    PubMed Central

    Santer, Roger D.; Hebets, Eileen A.

    2011-01-01

    Many arthropods possess filiform hair sensilla (termed trichobothria in arachnids), which are extremely sensitive detectors of medium particle displacement. Electrophysiological evidence in some taxa suggests that these sensilla can detect air particle displacements resulting from intraspecific communication signals. However, it has not yet been shown for any species that the air particle displacements detected by the filiform hairs are themselves perceived as a ‘signal’ (i.e. that individuals make behavioural decisions based upon the responses of these organs to the displays of conspecifics). We investigate the agonistic behaviour of the whip spider Phrynus marginemaculatus and the role of its trichobothria in receiving agonistic signals. Whip spiders have extremely elongated ‘antenniform’ first legs, which they vibrate close to their opponents during agonistic interactions, inducing air movements that excite their opponents' trichobothria. We find that ablation of the trichobothria causes significant increases in: (I) contest duration, and (II) the probability of contest escalation past aggressive displays to physical fighting. Therefore, in the absence of air movement-sensitive sensilla, contest assessment is impaired. This suggests that whip spiders exploit true air movement signals during agonistic interactions, and that these are received by the trichobothria. Furthermore, these results indicate that, in whip spiders, such signals help mitigate the cost of agonistic interaction. PMID:21853035

  2. Evidence against the involvement of Mycobacterium ulcerans in most cases of necrotic arachnidism.

    PubMed

    Atkinson, R K; Farrell, D J; Leis, A P

    1995-01-01

    Cutaneous lesions caused by M. ulcerans were shown to bear only a superficial resemblance to those produced by certain spider species. M. ulcerans was not found in either the venoms or the midguts of several Australian spiders, and deliberate contamination by inoculation of the fangs and digestive system of the wolf spider, Lycosa godeffroyi, did not result in permanent colonization. M. ulcerans was successfully introduced into the skin of mice through a small trauma site similar to that caused by a spider bite. However, because M. ulcerans was shown to survive on exposed surfaces for only a short period, a successful inoculation is likely only if the skin is contaminated with this organism after, or at the same time as, the skin suffers damage. The claim by other workers that M. ulcerans produces cutaneous ulcers by release of an exotoxin could not be confirmed. The authors conclude that M. ulcerans is not involved in most cases of necrotic arachnidism and hence there is no justification for prescribing anti-mycobacterial antibiotics to resolve alleged spider bite lesions unless the presence of M. ulcerans has been demonstrated by appropriate laboratory tests. PMID:7603753

  3. Effects of reconstruction of a pre-European vertebrate assemblage on ground-dwelling arachnids in arid Australia.

    PubMed

    Silvey, Colin J; Hayward, Matthew W; Gibb, Heloise

    2015-06-01

    Species loss can result in changes in assemblage structure and ecosystem function through ecological cascades. Australian vertebrate assemblages changed significantly following European colonisation, which resulted in the establishment of invasive vertebrates and the loss of native marsupials, many of which consume invertebrates. Conservation focusses on the removal of invasive carnivores and the reintroduction of regionally extinct species to fenced sites, resulting in what could be considered a reconstruction of pre-European vertebrate assemblages. In semi-arid Australian spinifex mallee ecosystems, we asked: (1) what is the effect of reconstructed pre-European vertebrate assemblages on native arachnid assemblages? and (2) what direct or indirect mechanisms (predation, disturbance and/or competition) could plausibly be responsible for these effects? We compared sites with reconstructed vertebrate assemblages with paired control sites. Arachnids were sampled using pitfall trapping and direct searching. Hypotheses regarding mechanisms were tested using scat analysis (predation) and by comparing burrow depth (disturbance) and scorpion mass (competition) between control and reconstructed sites. The dominant dune scorpion, Urodacus yaschenkoi, was less abundant and a wolf spider (Lycosa gibsoni species group) more abundant in reconstructed sites. Differences in spider assemblage composition were marginally non-significant. Scat analysis confirmed native vertebrate predation on scorpions and we found no evidence that competition or disturbance affected scorpions. We, thus, suggest that changes in spider assemblages may have resulted from ecological cascades via decreases in dune scorpions. The loss of omnivorous mammals and other changes associated with the invasion of carnivores may, therefore, have had broad-reaching consequences for native arachnid assemblages in Australian ecosystems. PMID:25874858

  4. Functional expression of an arachnid sodium channel reveals residues responsible for tetrodotoxin resistance in invertebrate sodium channels.

    PubMed

    Du, Yuzhe; Nomura, Yoshiko; Liu, Zhiqi; Huang, Zachary Y; Dong, Ke

    2009-12-01

    Tetrodotoxin (TTX) is a potent blocker of voltage-gated sodium channels, but not all sodium channels are equally sensitive to inhibition by TTX. The molecular basis of differential TTX sensitivity of mammalian sodium channels has been largely elucidated. In contrast, our knowledge about the sensitivity of invertebrate sodium channels to TTX remains poor, in part because of limited success in functional expression of these channels. In this study, we report the functional characterization in Xenopus oocytes of the first non-insect, invertebrate voltage-gated sodium channel from the varroa mite (Varroa destructor), an ecto-parasite of the honeybee. This arachnid sodium channel activates and inactivates rapidly with half-maximal activation at -18 mV and half-maximal fast inactivation at -29 mV. Interestingly, this arachnid channel showed surprising TTX resistance. TTX blocked this channel with an IC(50) of 1 microM. Subsequent site-directed mutagenesis revealed two residues, Thr-1674 and Ser-1967, in the pore-forming region of domains III and IV, respectively, which were responsible for the observed resistance to inhibition by TTX. Furthermore, sequence comparison and additional amino acid substitutions suggested that sequence polymorphisms at these two positions could be a widespread mechanism for modulating TTX sensitivity of sodium channels in diverse invertebrates. PMID:19828457

  5. Functional Expression of an Arachnid Sodium Channel Reveals Residues Responsible for Tetrodotoxin Resistance in Invertebrate Sodium Channels*

    PubMed Central

    Du, Yuzhe; Nomura, Yoshiko; Liu, Zhiqi; Huang, Zachary Y.; Dong, Ke

    2009-01-01

    Tetrodotoxin (TTX) is a potent blocker of voltage-gated sodium channels, but not all sodium channels are equally sensitive to inhibition by TTX. The molecular basis of differential TTX sensitivity of mammalian sodium channels has been largely elucidated. In contrast, our knowledge about the sensitivity of invertebrate sodium channels to TTX remains poor, in part because of limited success in functional expression of these channels. In this study, we report the functional characterization in Xenopus oocytes of the first non-insect, invertebrate voltage-gated sodium channel from the varroa mite (Varroa destructor), an ecto-parasite of the honeybee. This arachnid sodium channel activates and inactivates rapidly with half-maximal activation at −18 mV and half-maximal fast inactivation at −29 mV. Interestingly, this arachnid channel showed surprising TTX resistance. TTX blocked this channel with an IC50 of 1 μm. Subsequent site-directed mutagenesis revealed two residues, Thr-1674 and Ser-1967, in the pore-forming region of domains III and IV, respectively, which were responsible for the observed resistance to inhibition by TTX. Furthermore, sequence comparison and additional amino acid substitutions suggested that sequence polymorphisms at these two positions could be a widespread mechanism for modulating TTX sensitivity of sodium channels in diverse invertebrates. PMID:19828457

  6. Modification of Insect and Arachnid Behaviours by Vertically Transmitted Endosymbionts: Infections as Drivers of Behavioural Change and Evolutionary Novelty

    PubMed Central

    Goodacre, Sara L.; Martin, Oliver Y.

    2012-01-01

    Vertically acquired, endosymbiotic bacteria such as those belonging to the Rickettsiales and the Mollicutes are known to influence the biology of their arthropod hosts in order to favour their own transmission. In this study we investigate the influence of such reproductive parasites on the behavior of their insects and arachnid hosts. We find that changes in host behavior that are associated with endosymbiont infections are not restricted to characteristics that are directly associated with reproduction. Other behavioural traits, such as those involved in intraspecific competition or in dispersal may also be affected. Such behavioural shifts are expected to influence the level of intraspecific variation and the rate at which adaptation can occur through their effects on effective population size and gene flow amongst populations. Symbionts may thus influence both levels of polymorphism within species and the rate at which diversification can occur. PMID:26467958

  7. Necrotic arachnidism and intractable pain from recluse spider bites treated with lumbar sympathetic block: a case report and review of literature.

    PubMed

    Yi, Xiaobin; AuBuchon, Jacob; Zeltwanger, Shawn; Kirby, John P

    2011-06-01

    Brown recluse (Loxosceles reclusa) spider bites mainly occur in the southern and Midwestern United States. The clinical manifestation of brown recluse spider bites varies from skin irritation, a small area of tissue damage to neuropathic pain, necrotic arachnidism and severe systemic reactions such as acute renal failure and even death. Treatment is controversial and nonspecific. We describe a case of extensive right lower extremity tissue necrosis and intractable neuropathic pain treated with lumbar sympathetic block in a patient with a documented brown recluse spider bite. Both his pain and tissue necrosis improved significantly with lumbar sympathetic block with local anesthetic. After a series of lumbar sympathetic blocks, his symptoms resolved and lower extremity wound healed rapidly. We discuss the benefit of sympathetic blockade not only for neuropathic pain but also possibly as a treatment for necrotic arachnidism from a brown recluse spider bite. PMID:21317774

  8. How to stay on mummy's back: Morphological and functional changes of the pretarsus in arachnid postembryonic stages.

    PubMed

    Wolff, Jonas O; Huber, Siegfried J; Gorb, Stanislav N

    2015-07-01

    A specific type of maternal care occurs in several groups of Arachnida: mothers carry their offspring on their back (pulli-carrying behaviour). In scorpions, whip scorpions and whip spiders it is the prenymphal stage that settles on the mother. The prenymph is not yet fully developed for a free life and very limited in its mobility, but its feet are equipped with special adhesive organs (arolia) that become lost at the nymphal stage. Here we study the morphology, ultrastructure and mechanical function of the arolia. In scorpions (Scorpiones) the contact area between arolia and substrate and thus adhesion of the pad is controlled by the antagonistic work of hydrostatic pressure and muscular retraction. Arolia of whip scorpions (Thelyphonida) do not require muscular action for strong attachment. Arrays of long, branching fibres in the mesocuticle lead to high compliancy of the pad. In whip spiders (Amblypygi) the prenymphal pretarsus is already equipped with sclerites and claws. Its arolium is retained in nymphs and adults in some taxa, but acquires a more complex structure. These results contribute to our knowledge on the postembryonic development of arachnids and to the understanding of attachment pad evolution among arthropods. Some of the described developmental, structural, and mechanical phenomena are not known from other animals and might be of potential interest for further biomimetic developments. PMID:25912383

  9. First insight into the lipid uptake, storage and mobilization in arachnids: role of midgut diverticula and lipoproteins.

    PubMed

    Laino, Aldana; Cunningham, Mónica L; García, Fernando; Heras, Horacio

    2009-12-01

    The importance of midgut diverticula (M-diverticula) and hemolymph lipoproteins in the lipid homeostasis of Polybetes phythagoricus was studied. Radioactivity distribution in tissues and hemolymph was analyzed either after feeding or injecting [1-(14)C]-palmitate. In both experiments, radioactivity was mostly taken up by M-diverticula that synthesized diacylglycerols, triacylglycerols and phospholipids in a ratio close to its lipid class composition. M-diverticula total lipids represent 8.08% (by wt), mostly triacylglycerols (74%) and phosphatidylcholine (13%). Major fatty acids were (in decreasing order of abundance) 18:1n-9, 18:2n-6, 16:0, 16:1n-7, 18:0, 18:3n-3. Spider hemocyanin-containing lipoprotein (VHDL) transported 83% of the circulating label at short incubation times. After 24h, VHDL and HDL-1 (comparable to insect lipophorin) were found to be involved in the lipid uptake and release from M-diverticula, HDL-2 playing a negligible role. Lipoprotein's labelled lipid changed with time, phospholipids becoming the main circulating lipid after 24h. These results indicate that arachnid M-diverticula play a central role in lipid synthesis, storage and movilization, analogous to insect fat body or crustacean midgut gland. The relative contribution of HDL-1 and VHDL to lipid dynamics indicated that, unlike insects, spider VHDL significantly contributes to the lipid exchange between M-diverticula and hemolymph. PMID:19686754

  10. New records of two endemic troglobitic and threatened arachnids (Amblypygi and Opiliones) from limestone caves of Minas Gerais state, southeast Brazil

    PubMed Central

    Gallão, Jonas Eduardo; von Schimonsky, Diego M; Bichuette, Maria Elina

    2015-01-01

    Abstract Background The endemic and threatened troglobites (organisms restricted to caves) Charinus eleonorae (Amblypygi) and Iandumoema uai (Opiliones), both from Olhos d’Água cave, located at Peruaçu Caves National Park (southeast Brazil), have their distribution expanded for a new locality inside of the National Park (Lapa do Cipó cave), extending their distribution at least in 9.5km2. New information This new data suggest that these arachnids can be in a differentiation process and/or there are several possibilities of dispersion in the karst of Peruaçu. Indeed, a revision of their categorical status at IUCN Red List is necessary. We herein report a new distribution range (Lapa do Cipó cave) of the troglobitic species I. uai and C. eleonorae, which are, to date, known to occur in the Olhos d’Água cave, located at the Peruaçu Caves National Park (PCNP). PMID:26696758

  11. Role of IgG(T) and IgGa isotypes obtained from arachnidic antivenom to neutralize toxic activities of Loxosceles gaucho, Phoneutria nigriventer and Tityus serrulatus venoms.

    PubMed

    Toro, Ana Flávia; Malta, Marília Brinati; Soares, Sabrina Lucio; Da Rocha, Guilherme Casoni; da Silva Lira, Marcela; De Oliveira, Thais Abbate; Takehara, Harumi Ando; Lopes-Ferreira, Mônica; Santoro, Marcelo Larami; Guidolin, Rosalvo; Gondo Higashi, Hisako; Fernandes, Irene; Barbaro, Katia Cristina

    2006-11-01

    The ability of IgG(T) and IgGa subclasses--isolated by liquid chromatography from equine arachnidic antivenom (AAV)-to neutralize toxic activities of Loxosceles gaucho, Phoneutria nigriventer and Tityus serrulatus venoms as well as to remove venom toxins from circulation was investigated. These subclasses showed similar antibody titers against L. gaucho, P. nigriventer and T. serrulatus venoms, and by immunoblotting few differences were observed in the recognition pattern of venom antigens. IgG(T) and IgGa neutralized 100% lethality induced by L. gaucho and 50% of P. nigriventer venom, but IgGa failed to neutralize T. serrulatus venom, in contrast to IgG(T). Both subclasses neutralized local reactions and dermonecrosis induced by L. gaucho venom in rabbits. In mice, IgG(T) and IgGa partially neutralized the edematogenic activity induced by P. nigriventer and T. serrulatus venoms, but only IgG(T) neutralized (ca. 81%) the nociceptive activity induced by T. serrulatus venom. Both subclasses failed to neutralize nociceptive activity induced by P. nigriventer venom. IgG(T) reduced the serum venom levels of animals injected with L. gaucho, P. nigriventer or T. serrulatus venoms, while IgGa solely reduced L. gaucho and P. nigriventer venoms levels. Our results demostrate that IgG(T) and IgGa subclasses neutralize toxic activities induced by P. nigriventer, T. serrulatus and L. gaucho venoms with different efficacies, as well as depurate these venoms from circulation. PMID:16979205

  12. A revised dated phylogeny of the arachnid order Opiliones.

    PubMed

    Sharma, Prashant P; Giribet, Gonzalo

    2014-01-01

    Dating the Opiliones tree of life has become an important enterprise for this group of arthropods, due to their ancient origins and important biogeographic implications. To incorporate both methodological innovations in molecular dating as well as new systematic discoveries of harvestman diversity, we conducted total evidence dating on a data set uniting morphological and/or molecular sequence data for 47 Opiliones species, including all four well-known Palaeozoic fossils, to test the placement of both fossils and newly discovered lineages in a single analysis. Furthermore, we investigated node dating with a phylogenomic data set of 24,202 amino acid sites for 14 species of Opiliones, sampling all extant suborders. In this way, we approached molecular dating of basal harvestman phylogeny using different data sets and approaches to assess congruence of divergence time estimates. In spite of the markedly different composition of data sets, our results show congruence across all analyses for age estimates of basal nodes that are well constrained with respect to fossil calibrations (e.g., Opiliones, Palpatores). By contrast, derived nodes that lack fossil calibrations (e.g., the suborders Cyphophthalmi, and Laniatores) have large uncertainty intervals in diversification times, particularly in the total evidence dating analysis, reflecting the dearth of calibration points and undersampling of derived lineages. Total evidence dating consistently produced older median ages than node dating for ingroup nodes, due to the nested placement of multiple Palaeozoic fossils. Our analyses support basal diversification of Opiliones in the Ordovician-Devonian period, corroborating the inferred ancient origins of this arthropod order, and underscore the importance of diversity discovery-both paleontological and neontological-in evolutionary inference. PMID:25120562

  13. Egg Production Constrains Chemical Defenses in a Neotropical Arachnid

    PubMed Central

    Nazareth, Taís M.; Machado, Glauco

    2015-01-01

    Female investment in large eggs increases the demand for fatty acids, which are allocated for yolk production. Since the biosynthetic pathway leading to fatty acids uses the same precursors used in the formation of polyketides, allocation trade-offs are expected to emerge. Therefore, egg production should constrain the investment in chemical defenses based on polyketides, such as benzoquinones. We tested this hypothesis using the harvestman Acutiosoma longipes, which produces large eggs and releases benzoquinones as chemical defense. We predicted that the amount of secretion released by ovigerous females (OFs) would be smaller than that of non-ovigerous females (NOF). We also conducted a series of bioassays in the field and in the laboratory to test whether egg production renders OFs more vulnerable to predation. OFs produce less secretion than NOFs, which is congruent with the hypothesis that egg production constrains the investment in chemical defenses. Results of the bioassays show that the secretion released by OFs is less effective in deterring potential predators (ants and spiders) than the secretion released by NOFs. In conclusion, females allocate resources to chemical defenses in a way that preserves a primary biological function related to reproduction. However, the trade-off between egg and secretion production makes OFs vulnerable to predators. We suggest that egg production is a critical moment in the life of harvestman females, representing perhaps the highest cost of reproduction in the group. PMID:26331946

  14. A revised dated phylogeny of the arachnid order Opiliones

    PubMed Central

    Sharma, Prashant P.; Giribet, Gonzalo

    2014-01-01

    Dating the Opiliones tree of life has become an important enterprise for this group of arthropods, due to their ancient origins and important biogeographic implications. To incorporate both methodological innovations in molecular dating as well as new systematic discoveries of harvestman diversity, we conducted total evidence dating on a data set uniting morphological and/or molecular sequence data for 47 Opiliones species, including all four well-known Palaeozoic fossils, to test the placement of both fossils and newly discovered lineages in a single analysis. Furthermore, we investigated node dating with a phylogenomic data set of 24,202 amino acid sites for 14 species of Opiliones, sampling all extant suborders. In this way, we approached molecular dating of basal harvestman phylogeny using different data sets and approaches to assess congruence of divergence time estimates. In spite of the markedly different composition of data sets, our results show congruence across all analyses for age estimates of basal nodes that are well constrained with respect to fossil calibrations (e.g., Opiliones, Palpatores). By contrast, derived nodes that lack fossil calibrations (e.g., the suborders Cyphophthalmi, and Laniatores) have large uncertainty intervals in diversification times, particularly in the total evidence dating analysis, reflecting the dearth of calibration points and undersampling of derived lineages. Total evidence dating consistently produced older median ages than node dating for ingroup nodes, due to the nested placement of multiple Palaeozoic fossils. Our analyses support basal diversification of Opiliones in the Ordovician-Devonian period, corroborating the inferred ancient origins of this arthropod order, and underscore the importance of diversity discovery—both paleontological and neontological—in evolutionary inference. PMID:25120562

  15. The Concept Attainment Strategy: Inductive Lessons on Arachnids and Isomers

    ERIC Educational Resources Information Center

    Reid, Barbara

    2011-01-01

    The concept attainment lesson, recommended by Joyce, Weil, and Calhoun (2004), is designed to give students practice in analyzing data and developing critical-thinking skills--without a complicated lab setup. The inductive lesson structure leads students step by step to an in-depth understanding of a new idea and scaffolds their thinking as they…

  16. High-fidelity X-ray micro-tomography reconstruction of siderite-hosted Carboniferous arachnids

    PubMed Central

    Garwood, Russell; Dunlop, Jason A.; Sutton, Mark D.

    2009-01-01

    A new approach to maximize data recovery from siderite-hosted fossils is presented. Late Carboniferous trigonotarbids (Arachnida: Trigonotarbida) from Coseley, UK, were chosen to assess the potential of high-resolution X-ray micro-tomography (XMT). Three-dimensional computer reconstruction visualizes the animals at 20 µm or better resolution, resolving subtle and previously unseen details. Novel data recovered includes (possibly plesiomorphic) retention of endites on leg coxae of Cryptomartus hindi (Anthracomartidae) and highlights further similarities between this family and the Devonian Palaeocharinidae. Also revealed is a flattened body with robust anterior limbs, implying a hunting stance similar to modern crab spiders (Thomisidae). Eophrynus prestvicii (Eophrynidae) had more gracile limbs but a heavily ornamented body, with newly identified upward-pointing marginal spines on the opisthosoma. Its habitus is comparable with certain modern laniatorid harvestmen (Opiliones). These findings demonstrate the potential of XMT to revolutionize the study of siderite-hosted Coal Measures fossils. PMID:19656861

  17. Predation among armored arachnids: Bothriurus bonariensis (Scorpions, Bothriuridae) versus four species of harvestmen (Harvestmen, Gonyleptidae).

    PubMed

    Albín, Andrea; Toscano-Gadea, Carlos A

    2015-12-01

    Natural selection shapes prey-predator relationships and their behavioral adaptations, which seek to maximize capture success in the predator and avoidance in the prey. We tested the ability of adults of the scorpion Bothriurus bonariensis (Bothriuridae) to prey on synchronous and sympatric adults harvestmen of Acanthopachylus aculeatus, Discocyrtus prospicuus, Parampheres bimaculatus and Pachyloides thorellii (Gonyleptidae). In 72.5% of the cases B. bonariensis tried to prey on the harvestmen. The most successful captures occurred in the trials against A. aculeatus and D. prospicuus. In all the successful attacks the scorpions stung the prey between the chelicerae and consumed them, starting by the anterior portion of their bodies. The harvestmen used different defensive strategies such as fleeing before or after contact with the predator, exudating of chemical substances or staying still at the scorpion's touch. When scorpions contacted the chemical substances secreted by the harvestmen, they immediately rubbed the affected appendix against the substrate. However, exudating of chemical substances did not prevent, in any case, predation on the harvestmen. This is the first study showing the ability of scorpions to prey on different species of harvestmen, as well as the capture and defensive behaviors used by the predator and the prey. PMID:26470886

  18. A conserved genetic mechanism specifies deutocerebral appendage identity in insects and arachnids.

    PubMed

    Sharma, Prashant P; Tarazona, Oscar A; Lopez, Davys H; Schwager, Evelyn E; Cohn, Martin J; Wheeler, Ward C; Extavour, Cassandra G

    2015-06-01

    The segmental architecture of the arthropod head is one of the most controversial topics in the evolutionary developmental biology of arthropods. The deutocerebral (second) segment of the head is putatively homologous across Arthropoda, as inferred from the segmental distribution of the tripartite brain and the absence of Hox gene expression of this anterior-most, appendage-bearing segment. While this homology statement implies a putative common mechanism for differentiation of deutocerebral appendages across arthropods, experimental data for deutocerebral appendage fate specification are limited to winged insects. Mandibulates (hexapods, crustaceans and myriapods) bear a characteristic pair of antennae on the deutocerebral segment, whereas chelicerates (e.g. spiders, scorpions, harvestmen) bear the eponymous chelicerae. In such hexapods as the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, and the cricket, Gryllus bimaculatus, cephalic appendages are differentiated from the thoracic appendages (legs) by the activity of the appendage patterning gene homothorax (hth). Here we show that embryonic RNA interference against hth in the harvestman Phalangium opilio results in homeonotic chelicera-to-leg transformations, and also in some cases pedipalp-to-leg transformations. In more strongly affected embryos, adjacent appendages undergo fusion and/or truncation, and legs display proximal defects, suggesting conservation of additional functions of hth in patterning the antero-posterior and proximo-distal appendage axes. Expression signal of anterior Hox genes labial, proboscipedia and Deformed is diminished, but not absent, in hth RNAi embryos, consistent with results previously obtained with the insect G. bimaculatus. Our results substantiate a deep homology across arthropods of the mechanism whereby cephalic appendages are differentiated from locomotory appendages. PMID:25948691

  19. [Envenomation and poisoning by venomous or poisonous animals. VII: arachnidism in the New World].

    PubMed

    Chippaux, J P; Alagón, A

    2008-06-01

    The incidence of scorpion stings and spider bites is high in Latin America. This is particularly true for Mexico, part of Amazonia, and southern and eastern Brazil. Centruroides and Tityus scorpion stings present a real danger for humans, especially children. Envenomation results in intense pain, neurological signs, and cardiorespiratory manifestations that can lead to death by acute pulmonary edema or heart failure. In the event of confirmed envenomation, antivenin must be administered as soon as possible in association with symptomatic treatment and, if necessary, cardiorespiratory resuscitation. Spider bites are a less frequent and severe. Envenomation by Loxosceles is extremely painful and necrotizing. Severe visceral complications can develop. An effective antivenim has recently become available for local and systemic envenomation. Envenomation by Latrodectus leads to neurological symptoms that can also be treated with antivenom. Envenomation by other spiders is less frequent and generally harmless. PMID:18689308

  20. Intrinsic resistance to the lethal effects of x-irradiation in insect and arachnid cells

    PubMed Central

    Koval, Thomas M.

    1983-01-01

    Twelve cell lines representing 10 genera of three orders (Diptera, Lepidoptera, and Orthoptera) of the class Insecta and one cell line (Acarina) from the class Arachnida were examined to discern their sensitivity to the lethal effects of x-irradiation. Radiosensitivity was measured by a combination of colony formation and population growth curve techniques. Each of these arthropod cell lines is significantly more radioresistant than mammalian cells, though the degree of resistance varies greatly with order. Dipteran cells are 3 to 9 times and lepidopteran cells 52 to 104 times more radioresistant than mammalian cells. Orthopteran and acarine cells are intermediate in radiosensitivity between dipteran and lepidopteran cells. These cells, especially the lepidopteran, should be valuable in determining the molecular nature of repair mechanisms that result in resistance to ionizing radiation. PMID:16593348

  1. A conserved genetic mechanism specifies deutocerebral appendage identity in insects and arachnids

    PubMed Central

    Sharma, Prashant P.; Tarazona, Oscar A.; Lopez, Davys H.; Schwager, Evelyn E.; Cohn, Martin J.; Wheeler, Ward C.; Extavour, Cassandra G.

    2015-01-01

    The segmental architecture of the arthropod head is one of the most controversial topics in the evolutionary developmental biology of arthropods. The deutocerebral (second) segment of the head is putatively homologous across Arthropoda, as inferred from the segmental distribution of the tripartite brain and the absence of Hox gene expression of this anterior-most, appendage-bearing segment. While this homology statement implies a putative common mechanism for differentiation of deutocerebral appendages across arthropods, experimental data for deutocerebral appendage fate specification are limited to winged insects. Mandibulates (hexapods, crustaceans and myriapods) bear a characteristic pair of antennae on the deutocerebral segment, whereas chelicerates (e.g. spiders, scorpions, harvestmen) bear the eponymous chelicerae. In such hexapods as the fruit fly, Drosophila melanogaster, and the cricket, Gryllus bimaculatus, cephalic appendages are differentiated from the thoracic appendages (legs) by the activity of the appendage patterning gene homothorax (hth). Here we show that embryonic RNA interference against hth in the harvestman Phalangium opilio results in homeonotic chelicera-to-leg transformations, and also in some cases pedipalp-to-leg transformations. In more strongly affected embryos, adjacent appendages undergo fusion and/or truncation, and legs display proximal defects, suggesting conservation of additional functions of hth in patterning the antero-posterior and proximo-distal appendage axes. Expression signal of anterior Hox genes labial, proboscipedia and Deformed is diminished, but not absent, in hth RNAi embryos, consistent with results previously obtained with the insect G. bimaculatus. Our results substantiate a deep homology across arthropods of the mechanism whereby cephalic appendages are differentiated from locomotory appendages. PMID:25948691

  2. In vitro and in vivo evaluation of cypermethrin, amitraz, and piperonyl butoxide mixtures for the control of resistant Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus (Acari: Ixodidae) in the Mexican tropics

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The southern cattle fever tick, Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus (Canestrini), is a haematophagous arachnid (Acari: Ixodidae) recognized globally as an economically important ectoparasite of cattle in tropical and subtropical agroecosystems. Populations of this invasive tick species around the wo...

  3. Amber from western Amazonia reveals Neotropical diversity during the middle Miocene

    PubMed Central

    Antoine, Pierre-Olivier; De Franceschi, Dario; Flynn, John J.; Nel, André; Baby, Patrice; Benammi, Mouloud; Calderón, Ysabel; Espurt, Nicolas; Goswami, Anjali; Salas-Gismondi, Rodolfo

    2006-01-01

    Tertiary insects and arachnids have been virtually unknown from the vast western Amazonian basin. We report here the discovery of amber from this region containing a diverse fossil arthropod fauna (13 hexapod families and 3 arachnid species) and abundant microfossil inclusions (pollen, spores, algae, and cyanophyceae). This unique fossil assemblage, recovered from middle Miocene deposits of northeastern Peru, greatly increases the known diversity of Cenozoic tropical–equatorial arthropods and microorganisms and provides insights into the biogeography and evolutionary history of modern Neotropical biota. It also strengthens evidence for the presence of more modern, high-diversity tropical rainforest ecosystems during the middle Miocene in western Amazonia. PMID:16950875

  4. Development and evaluation of the neutralizing capacity of horse antivenom against the Brazilian spider Loxosceles intermedia.

    PubMed

    Braz, A; Minozzo, J; Abreu, J C; Gubert, I C; Chávez-Olórtegui, C

    1999-09-01

    Spider bites due to Loxosceles intermedia are currently a major public health problem in South Brazil. About 3000 cases are reported annually. Specific treatment for spider bites is provided by the polyvalent anti-arachnidic antiserum produced by Butantan Institute, São Paulo, Brazil by immunizing horses with mixtures of venoms from Tityus serrulatus and T. bahiensis scorpions, as well as Phoneutria nigriventer and L. gaucho spiders. Due to the large amounts of the anti-arachnidic antivenom required and since L. intermedia venom has some biochemical and pharmacological variations, we have produced a specific anti-L. intermedia antivenom. This study shows that horses immunized with crude L. intermedia venom produced IgG antibodies that neutralized the dermonecrotic and lethal activities of the venom. The neutralizing potency of the anti-loxoscelic antivenom was compared with that of the anti-arachnidic antivenom. Our results indicate that both antivenoms were effective in terms of neutralization. However, the anti-loxoscelic antivenom was more efficient than the anti-arachnidic. PMID:10400292

  5. Comparative morphology of the hemolymph vascular system in Uropygi and Amblypygi (Arachnida): Complex correspondences support Arachnopulmonata.

    PubMed

    Klußmann-Fricke, B-J; Wirkner, C S

    2016-08-01

    Although the circulatory system of arthropods has long been considered as rather simple, recent studies have demonstrated that in certain arthropod taxa, such as Malacostraca, some Chilopoda and also many Chelicerata, the vascular systems in particular are rather complex. Furthermore, a recent study has revealed that the prosomal ganglion of scorpions and spiders is supplied by an intricate network of arteries, the complexity of which bears a close resemblance to that of vertebrate capillary systems. In this study, we analyzed the hemolymph vascular systems of various species of Pedipalpi (i.e., Amblypygi and Uropygi). By combining modern techniques, such as MicroCT and cLSM, with computer-based 3D-reconstruction, we were able to produce comprehensive visualizations and descriptions of the vascular systems. Despite the lack of well-corroborated phylogenetic hypotheses on arachnid relationships and the controversial assertion of relationships between the pulmonate arachnids, we aim to elucidate the evolution of complex vascular systems in Arachnida. By comparing these highly complex vascular systems not only with each other, but also with other pulmonate arachnids, we found numerous detailed correspondences in the general branching pattern as well as in the supply patterns of the prosomal ganglion. We argue that these numerous and detailed correspondences by their absence in other arachnids i.e. aplumonates, support Arachnopulmonata. J. Morphol. 277:1084-1103, 2016. © 2016 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. PMID:27354144

  6. Sperm carriers in Silurian sea scorpions.

    PubMed

    Kamenz, Carsten; Staude, Andreas; Dunlop, Jason A

    2011-10-01

    Invasion of the land by arachnids required adaptations of numerous organs, such as gills evolving into lungs, as well as mechanisms facilitating sperm transfer in a terrestrial environment. Many modern arachnids use spermatophores for this purpose, i.e. sperm transmitters detached from the body. Exceptionally preserved Silurian (423 Ma) fossils of Eurypterus tetragonophthalmus Fischer, 1839 (Chelicerata: Eurypterida) preserve so-called 'horn organs' which we here demonstrate as being equivalent to the spermatophore-producing parts of the genital tract in certain modern arachnids. This clarifies a long-running debate about sexing eurypterids based on the shape of the median abdominal (or genital) appendage. To our knowledge this is also the oldest direct evidence for spermatophore-mediated sperm transfer in the fossil record and suggests that eurypterids had evolved mating techniques using spermatophores as early as the Silurian, a valuable prerequisite for life on land. Spermatophores are absent in sea spiders (Pycnogonida) and horseshoe crabs (Xiphosura); thus the shared presence of sclerotized sperm-transfer devices in eurypterids and arachnids is a novel character, newly elucidated here, which offers explicit support for (Eurypterida + Arachnida). For this clade the name Sclerophorata n. nov. is proposed. Arachnida can be further defined by fusion of the originally paired genital opening. PMID:21892606

  7. Sperm carriers in Silurian sea scorpions

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kamenz, Carsten; Staude, Andreas; Dunlop, Jason A.

    2011-10-01

    Invasion of the land by arachnids required adaptations of numerous organs, such as gills evolving into lungs, as well as mechanisms facilitating sperm transfer in a terrestrial environment. Many modern arachnids use spermatophores for this purpose, i.e. sperm transmitters detached from the body. Exceptionally preserved Silurian (423 Ma) fossils of Eurypterus tetragonophthalmus Fischer, 1839 (Chelicerata: Eurypterida) preserve so-called `horn organs' which we here demonstrate as being equivalent to the spermatophore-producing parts of the genital tract in certain modern arachnids. This clarifies a long-running debate about sexing eurypterids based on the shape of the median abdominal (or genital) appendage. To our knowledge this is also the oldest direct evidence for spermatophore-mediated sperm transfer in the fossil record and suggests that eurypterids had evolved mating techniques using spermatophores as early as the Silurian, a valuable prerequisite for life on land. Spermatophores are absent in sea spiders (Pycnogonida) and horseshoe crabs (Xiphosura); thus the shared presence of sclerotized sperm-transfer devices in eurypterids and arachnids is a novel character, newly elucidated here, which offers explicit support for (Eurypterida + Arachnida). For this clade the name Sclerophorata n. nov. is proposed. Arachnida can be further defined by fusion of the originally paired genital opening.

  8. Molecular phylogeny of Entomophthoromycota

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    The Entomophthoromycota is a ubiquitous group of fungi best known as pathogens of a wide variety of economically important insect pests, arachnids, and other soil invertebrates, a smaller number of parasites of reptiles, vertebrates (including humans), macromycetes, fern gametophytes, and desmid alg...

  9. Sulfakinin is an important regulator of digestive processes in the migratory locust, Locusta migratoria

    Technology Transfer Automated Retrieval System (TEKTRAN)

    Sulfakinin (SK) is a sulfated insect neuropeptide that is best known for its function as a satiety factor. It displays structural and functional similarities with the vertebrate peptides gastrin and cholecystokinin. Peptidomic studies in multiple insects, crustaceans and arachnids have revealed th...

  10. Patterns of Protein Evolution in Cytochrome c Oxidase 1 (COI) from the Class Arachnida

    PubMed Central

    Young, Monica R; Hebert, Paul D. N.

    2015-01-01

    Because sequence information is now available for the 648bp barcode region of cytochrome c oxidase 1 (COI) from more than 400,000 animal species, this gene segment can be used to probe patterns of mitochondrial evolution. The present study examines levels of amino acid substitution and the frequency of indels in COI from 4177 species of arachnids, including representatives from all 16 orders and 43% of its families (267/625). It examines divergences at three taxonomic levels—among members of each order to an outgroup, among families in each order and among BINs, a species proxy, in each family. Order Distances vary fourfold (0.10–0.39), while the mean of the Family Distances for the ten orders ranges fivefold (0.07–0.35). BIN Distances show great variation, ranging from 0.01 or less in 12 families to more than 0.25 in eight families. Patterns of amino acid substitution in COI are generally congruent with previously reported variation in nucleotide substitution rates in arachnids, but provide some new insights, such as clear rate acceleration in the Opiliones. By revealing a strong association between elevated rates of nucleotide and amino acid substitution, this study builds evidence for the selective importance of the rate variation among arachnid lineages. Moreover, it establishes that groups whose COI genes have elevated levels of amino acid substitution also regularly possess indels, a dramatic form of protein reconfiguration. Overall, this study suggests that the mitochondrial genome of some arachnid groups is dynamic with high rates of amino acid substitution and frequent indels, while it is ‘locked down’ in others. Dynamic genomes are most prevalent in arachnids with short generation times, but the possible impact of breeding system deserves investigation since many of the rapidly evolving lineages reproduce by haplodiploidy, a mode of reproduction absent in ‘locked down’ taxa. PMID:26308206

  11. Amplitude distributions of the spider heartpulse in response to gravitational stimuli

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Finck, A.

    1984-01-01

    The arachnid Nuctenea sclopetaria (Clerck) which possesses a neurogenic heart, measuring the heartbeat is under efferent control through a dorsal nerve arising from a brain center is discussed. It was shown that the heartrate of this spider is also modulated by an afferent input associated with small increments of gravity. A compressive force on the order of 40 micron is sufficient to elicit a threshold change in heart rate for a typical (100mg) spider. This obtains in a hyper-Gz field less than 1.001. The functional relationship between gravity and heartrate is logarithmic between the absolute threshold and at least 1.5 Gz. A model was proposed in which equilibrium and movement are maintained by changes in blood pressure. It is concluded that the arachnid equilibrium system is like a weight detector which employs a hydraulic compensatory mechanism.

  12. The complete mitochondrial genome of Pseudocellus pearsei (Chelicerata: Ricinulei) and a comparison of mitochondrial gene rearrangements in Arachnida

    PubMed Central

    Fahrein, Kathrin; Talarico, Giovanni; Braband, Anke; Podsiadlowski, Lars

    2007-01-01

    Background Mitochondrial genomes are widely utilized for phylogenetic and population genetic analyses among animals. In addition to sequence data the mitochondrial gene order and RNA secondary structure data are used in phylogenetic analyses. Arachnid phylogeny is still highly debated and there is a lack of sufficient sequence data for many taxa. Ricinulei (hooded tickspiders) are a morphologically distinct clade of arachnids with uncertain phylogenetic affinities. Results The first complete mitochondrial DNA genome of a member of the Ricinulei, Pseudocellus pearsei (Arachnida: Ricinulei) was sequenced using a PCR-based approach. The mitochondrial genome is a typical circular duplex DNA molecule with a size of 15,099 bp, showing the complete set of genes usually present in bilaterian mitochondrial genomes. Five tRNA genes (trnW, trnY, trnN, trnL(CUN), trnV) show different relative positions compared to other Chelicerata (e.g. Limulus polyphemus, Ixodes spp.). We propose that two events led to this derived gene order: (1) a tandem duplication followed by random deletion and (2) an independent translocation of trnN. Most of the inferred tRNA secondary structures show the common cloverleaf pattern except tRNA-Glu where the TψC-arm is missing. In phylogenetic analyses (maximum likelihood, maximum parsimony, Bayesian inference) using concatenated amino acid and nucleotide sequences of protein-coding genes the basal relationships of arachnid orders remain unresolved. Conclusion Phylogenetic analyses (ML, MP, BI) of arachnid mitochondrial genomes fail to resolve interordinal relationships of Arachnida and remain in a preliminary stage because there is still a lack of mitogenomic data from important taxa such as Opiliones and Pseudoscorpiones. Gene order varies considerably within Arachnida – only eight out of 23 species have retained the putative arthropod ground pattern. Some gene order changes are valuable characters in phylogenetic analysis of intraordinal

  13. Three-dimensional reconstruction and the phylogeny of extinct chelicerate orders

    PubMed Central

    Dunlop, Jason

    2014-01-01

    Arachnids are an important group of arthropods. They are: diverse and abundant; a major constituent of many terrestrial ecosystems; and possess a deep and extensive fossil record. In recent years a number of exceptionally preserved arachnid fossils have been investigated using tomography and associated techniques, providing valuable insights into their morphology. Here we use X-ray microtomography to reconstruct members of two extinct arachnid orders. In the Haptopoda, we demonstrate the presence of ‘clasp-knife’ chelicerae, and our novel redescription of a member of the Phalangiotarbida highlights leg details, but fails to resolve chelicerae in the group due to their small size. As a result of these reconstructions, tomographic studies of three-dimensionally preserved fossils now exist for three of the four extinct orders, and for fossil representatives of several extant ones. Such studies constitute a valuable source of high fidelity data for constructing phylogenies. To illustrate this, here we present a cladistic analysis of the chelicerates to accompany these reconstructions. This is based on a previously published matrix, expanded to include fossil taxa and relevant characters, and allows us to: cladistically place the extinct arachnid orders; explicitly test some earlier hypotheses from the literature; and demonstrate that the addition of fossils to phylogenetic analyses can have broad implications. Phylogenies based on chelicerate morphology—in contrast to molecular studies—have achieved elements of consensus in recent years. Our work suggests that these results are not robust to the addition of novel characters or fossil taxa. Hypotheses surrounding chelicerate phylogeny remain in a state of flux. PMID:25405073

  14. Genome size and endonuclear DNA replication in spiders.

    PubMed

    Rasch, Ellen M; Connelly, Barbara A

    2005-08-01

    Although genome sizes (C-values) are now available for 115 arachnid species (Gregory and Shorthouse [2003] J Hered 94:285-290), the extent of genome amplification (endonuclear DNA replication or polyploidization) accompanying tissue differentiation in this diverse and abundant class of invertebrates remains unknown. To explore this aspect of arachnid development, samples of hemolymph and other tissues were taken from wild-caught specimens as air-dried smears, stained with the Feulgen reaction for DNA, and assayed using both scanning and image analysis densitometry. Cells from midgut diverticula and Malpighian tubules of Argiope and Lycosa (=Pardosa) often showed giant nuclei with 50-100 pg of DNA per nucleus, reflecting at least four cycles of endonuclear DNA replication when compared to the DNA content of hemocytes or sperm from the same specimen. Nuclei with markedly elevated DNA levels also appeared, but far less frequently, in tissue samples from several other arachnid species (Antrodiaetus, Hypochilus, Latrodectus, Liphistus and Loxosceles), but revealed no correlation with differences in somatic cell (2C) genome sizes. Our data show that several DNA classes of polysomatic nuclei regularly arise during tissue differentiation in some species of spiders and may provide an interesting model system for further study of patterns of tissue-specific variation in DNA endoreduplication during development. PMID:15971267

  15. Distinct Surface Features of Ignimbrites Related to Post-depositional Degassing - Criteria for their Identification on Other Planetary Surfaces

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    de Silva, S. L.; Bailey, J. E.

    2013-12-01

    Developing criteria to differentiate between different lithologies is crucial to unraveling the history of planetary surfaces. The presence of ignimbrites on Mars has been debated for over three decades. If correct, this interpretation has implications for the style of volcanism, the evolution of magmas and volatiles in the mantle and crust, the presence of water, and the evolution of the atmosphere. Ongoing work on the surface patterns of terrestrial ignimbrites in the Central Andes reveal a class of features related to post-depositional degassing that maybe unique to ignimbrites. We focus on interconnected broadly concentric zones of polygonally-fractured intense alteration that form the cores to an extensive radiating fracture network. These are informally called 'arachnids' or 'matrix bugs'. Field investigation reveals abundant sulphur and hydrothermal alteration of the cores with a clear thermal zonation. Resulting induration manifests as elevated core regions and indurated ridges that control the development of yardangs. The character and spacing of the arachnids suggests their formation is related to the presence of external water. The manifestation of these features varies with the degree of induration of the ignimbrites, which is a rough proxy for the volume of the deposit. Arachnids and bugs maybe part of a genre of post-depositional thermal and volatile release features in ignimbrites that include phreatic explosion craters, columnar jointing and fumarolic mounds. These features maybe unique to ignimbrites and may provide a distinct criterion for their identification with high resolution remotely sensed data in regions with little dust cover. Recognising such features in higher resolution data such as HiRiSe on Mars may be limited by the extensive dust cover.

  16. Tick paralysis in Australia caused by Ixodes holocyclus Neumann

    PubMed Central

    Hall-Mendelin, S; Craig, S B; Hall, R A; O’Donoghue, P; Atwell, R B; Tulsiani, S M; Graham, G C

    2011-01-01

    Ticks are obligate haematophagous ectoparasites of various animals, including humans, and are abundant in temperate and tropical zones around the world. They are the most important vectors for the pathogens causing disease in livestock and second only to mosquitoes as vectors of pathogens causing human disease. Ticks are formidable arachnids, capable of not only transmitting the pathogens involved in some infectious diseases but also of inducing allergies and causing toxicoses and paralysis, with possible fatal outcomes for the host. This review focuses on tick paralysis, the role of the Australian paralysis tick Ixodes holocyclus, and the role of toxin molecules from this species in causing paralysis in the host. PMID:21396246

  17. A new scorpion species of genus Diplocentrus Peters, 1861 (Scorpiones: Diplocentridae) endemic to Islas de la Bahia, Honduras.

    PubMed

    Sagastume-Espinoza, Kevin O; Longhorn, Stuart J; Santibáñez-López, Carlos E

    2015-07-01

    Three species of genus Diplocentrus are found in north-northwestern Honduras. These species represent the southern east limits of Diplocentrus' distribution. In recent years, a broad survey of arachnids in Honduras has yielded a collection of several specimens of an undescribed species from two islands in northern Honduras. This new species represents the second species of the genus inhabiting an island. The present contribution describes this new species, and compares it against its most similar relatives. A dichotomous key for the identification of the species of Diplocentrus in Honduras is also included. PMID:26026575

  18. Spiders in dermatology.

    PubMed

    Kang, Jun K; Bhate, Chinmoy; Schwartz, Robert A

    2014-09-01

    Spider bites represent an unusual and potentially over-represented clinical diagnosis. Despite a common fear of spiders, known as arachnophobia, current knowledge suggests that only a small number of families within the order Araneae are medically relevant. Moreover, most cutaneous spider reactions, including both evenomations and physical trauma, produce mild, local symptoms which may be managed with supportive care alone. The differential diagnosis for spider bites may be broad, especially if the offending arachnid is not seen or found. We describe a series of spiders relevant to the dermatologist in the United States. PMID:25577851

  19. Gravito-inertial sensitivity of the spider - Araneus sericatus

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Finck, A.

    1982-01-01

    The gravito-inertial transfer function of the orb-weaving spider was evaluated by changes in the cardiac reflex. A non-intrusive method, using a laser system recorded the cardiac pulse. Between 1.001 and 1.5 Gz the data are 'best-fit' by a log function (r-squared 0.92). The response of the neurogenic heart is seen to be a good dependent variable for invetebrate research. The arachnid lyriform organ has those qualities which complement the obtained gravity function. It is hypothesized that the cardiac pump maintains the spiders equilibrium in the gravito-inertial field.

  20. Assessing and managing spider and scorpion envenomation.

    PubMed

    McGhee, Stephen; Weiner, Aaron; Finnegan, Alan; Visovsky, Constance; Clochesy, John M; Graves, Brian

    2015-11-01

    Envenomation by spiders or scorpions is a public health problem in many parts of the world and is not isolated to the tropics and subtropics. Spiders and scorpions can be unintentionally transported globally, and keeping them as pets is becoming more popular, so envenomation can occur anywhere. Emergency nurses should be prepared to assess and treat patients who present with a bite or sting. This article gives an overview of the signs, symptoms and treatment of envenomation by species of arachnids that are clinically significant to humans. PMID:26542925

  1. Late summer food habits of three heron species in northeastern Louisiana

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Niethammer, K.R.; Kaiser, M.S.

    1983-01-01

    Yellow-crowned Night-Herons (Nycticorax violaceus), Little Blue Herons (Egretta caerulea), and Green-backed Herons (Butorides striatus) collected in northeastern Louisiana from July-September 1980 exhibited different diets. Yellow-crowned Night-Herons fed mostly on crayfish (74% by weight) and Green-backed Herons fed primarily on fish (93% by weight). The diet of Little Blue Herons was diverse, including fish (61%), crustaceans (11%), insects (13%), and arachnids (14%). Yellow-crowned Night-Herons captured larger prey than did either of the smaller herons. Green-backed Herons took larger prey and a greater range of prey sizes than did the larger Little Blue Herons.

  2. The first complete mitochondrial genome sequences of Amblypygi (Chelicerata: Arachnida) reveal conservation of the ancestral arthropod gene order.

    PubMed

    Fahrein, Kathrin; Masta, Susan E; Podsiadlowski, Lars

    2009-05-01

    Amblypygi (whip spiders) are terrestrial chelicerates inhabiting the subtropics and tropics. In morphological and rRNA-based phylogenetic analyses, Amblypygi cluster with Uropygi (whip scorpions) and Araneae (spiders) to form the taxon Tetrapulmonata, but there is controversy regarding the interrelationship of these three taxa. Mitochondrial genomes provide an additional large data set of phylogenetic information (sequences, gene order, RNA secondary structure), but in arachnids, mitochondrial genome data are missing for some of the major orders. In the course of an ongoing project concerning arachnid mitochondrial genomics, we present the first two complete mitochondrial genomes from Amblypygi. Both genomes were found to be typical circular duplex DNA molecules with all 37 genes usually present in bilaterian mitochondrial genomes. In both species, gene order is identical to that of Limulus polyphemus (Xiphosura), which is assumed to reflect the putative arthropod ground pattern. All tRNA gene sequences have the potential to fold into structures that are typical of metazoan mitochondrial tRNAs, except for tRNA-Ala, which lacks the D arm in both amblypygids, suggesting the loss of this feature early in amblypygid evolution. Phylogenetic analysis resulted in weak support for Uropygi being the sister group of Amblypygi. PMID:19448726

  3. Forest refugia in Western and Central Africa as ‘museums’ of Mesozoic biodiversity

    PubMed Central

    Murienne, Jérôme; Benavides, Ligia R.; Prendini, Lorenzo; Hormiga, Gustavo; Giribet, Gonzalo

    2013-01-01

    The refugial speciation model, or ‘species pump’, is widely accepted in the context of tropical biogeography and has been advocated as an explanation for present species distributions in tropical Western and Central Africa. In order to test this hypothesis, a phylogeny of the cryptic arachnid order Ricinulei, based on four nuclear and mitochondrial DNA markers, was inferred. This ancient clade of litter-dwelling arthropods, endemic to the primary forests of Western and Central Africa and the Neotropics, might provide insights into the mode and tempo of evolution in Africa. Twenty-six African ricinuleid specimens were sampled from eight countries spanning the distribution of Ricinulei on the continent, and analysed together with Neotropical samples plus other arachnid outgroups. The phylogenetic and molecular dating results suggest that Ricinulei diversified in association with the fragmentation of Gondwana. The early diversification of Ricinoides in Western and Central Africa around 88 (±33) Ma fits old palaeogeographical events better than recent climatic fluctuations. Unlike most recent molecular studies, these results agree with fossil evidence, suggesting that refugia may have acted as ‘museums’ conserving ancient diversity rather than as engines generating diversity during successive episodes of climatic fluctuation in Africa. PMID:23193047

  4. [Cutaneous necrotic loxoscelism. A case report].

    PubMed

    Sánchez-Olivas, Manuel Anastacio; Valencia-Zavala, Martha Patricia; Sánchez-Olivas, Jesús Alberto; Sepulveda-Velázquez, Guadalupe; Vega-Robledo, Gloria

    2011-01-01

    Brown recluse (Loxosceles spp.) spiders are arachnid species known to cause necrotic arachnidism. The envenomation, described as loxoscelism, is associated with localized pain, erythema, and edema followed by the development of necrosis. However, the specific pathophysiological mechanisms by which Loxosceles venom exerts these noxious symptoms are multifactorial and not fully understood. The causative factor for production of necrotic lesions is generally considered to be the enzyme sphingomyelinase D (SMD), which cleaves sphingomyelin to form choline and ceramide 1-phosphate. Four active forms of SMD with molecular weight of 32 000 are found in L recluse. Sphingomyelinases of comparable size are also described in the venoms of Loxosceles intermedia, gaucho and laeta. Here we describe the case of a young male adult who suffered a spider bite on his left forearm which evolved into a necrotic lesion, and after a few days the injury healed completely. One week later the patient developed two similar lesions on his left leg. The diagnosis was established by clinical data and by biopsy findings. The patient did not developed systemic complications. PMID:22027681

  5. Vertical T-maze choice assay for arthropod response to odorants.

    PubMed

    Stelinski, Lukasz; Tiwari, Siddharth

    2013-01-01

    Given the economic importance of insects and arachnids as pests of agricultural crops, urban environments or as vectors of plant and human diseases, various technologies are being developed as control tools. A subset of these tools focuses on modifying the behavior of arthropods by attraction or repulsion. Therefore, arthropods are often the focus of behavioral investigations. Various tools have been developed to measure arthropod behavior, including wind tunnels, flight mills, servospheres, and various types of olfactometers. The purpose of these tools is to measure insect or arachnid response to visual or more often olfactory cues. The vertical T-maze olfactometer described here measures choices performed by insects in response to attractants or repellents. It is a high throughput assay device that takes advantage of the positive phototaxis (attraction to light) and negative geotaxis (tendency to walk or fly upward) exhibited by many arthropods. The olfactometer consists of a 30 cm glass tube that is divided in half with a Teflon strip forming a T-maze. Each half serves as an arm of the olfactometer enabling the test subjects to make a choice between two potential odor fields in assays involving attractants. In assays involving repellents, lack of normal response to known attractants can also be measured as a third variable. PMID:23439130

  6. Geological history and phylogeny of Chelicerata.

    PubMed

    Dunlop, Jason A

    2010-01-01

    Chelicerata probably appeared during the Cambrian period. Their precise origins remain unclear, but may lie among the so-called great appendage arthropods. By the late Cambrian there is evidence for both Pycnogonida and Euchelicerata. Relationships between the principal euchelicerate lineages are unresolved, but Xiphosura, Eurypterida and Chasmataspidida (the last two extinct), are all known as body fossils from the Ordovician. The fourth group, Arachnida, was found monophyletic in most recent studies. Arachnids are known unequivocally from the Silurian (a putative Ordovician mite remains controversial), and the balance of evidence favours a common, terrestrial ancestor. Recent work recognises four principal arachnid clades: Stethostomata, Haplocnemata, Acaromorpha and Pantetrapulmonata, of which the pantetrapulmonates (spiders and their relatives) are probably the most robust grouping. Stethostomata includes Scorpiones (Silurian-Recent) and Opiliones (Devonian-Recent), while Haplocnemata includes Pseudoscorpiones (Devonian-Recent) and Solifugae (Carboniferous-Recent). Recent works increasingly favour diphyletic mite origins, whereby Acaromorpha comprises Actinotrichida (Devonian-Recent), Anactinotrichida (Cretaceous-Recent) and Ricinulei (Carboniferous-Recent). The positions of the Phalangiotarbida (Devonian-Permian) and Palpigradi (Neogene-Recent) are poorly resolved. Finally, Pantetrapulmonata includes the following groups (listed here in their most widely recovered phylogenetic sequence): Trigonotarbida (Silurian-Permian), Uraraneida (Devonian-Permian), Araneae (Carboniferous-Recent), Haptopoda (Carboniferous), Amblypygi (?Devonian-Recent), Thelyphonida (Carboniferous-Recent) and Schizomida (Paleogene-Recent). PMID:20093195

  7. Evolutionary biology of harvestmen (Arachnida, Opiliones).

    PubMed

    Giribet, Gonzalo; Sharma, Prashant P

    2015-01-01

    Opiliones are one of the largest arachnid orders, with more than 6,500 species in 50 families. Many of these families have been erected or reorganized in the last few years since the publication of The Biology of Opiliones. Recent years have also seen an explosion in phylogenetic work on Opiliones, as well as in studies using Opiliones as test cases to address biogeographic and evolutionary questions more broadly. Accelerated activity in the study of Opiliones evolution has been facilitated by the discovery of several key fossils, including the oldest known Opiliones fossil, which represents a new, extinct suborder. Study of the group's biology has also benefited from rapid accrual of genomic resources, particularly with respect to transcriptomes and functional genetic tools. The rapid emergence and utility of Phalangium opilio as a model for evolutionary developmental biology of arthropods serve as demonstrative evidence of a new area of study in Opiliones biology, made possible through transcriptomic data. PMID:25341103

  8. Adaptations and Predispositions of Different Middle European Arthropod Taxa (Collembola, Araneae, Chilopoda, Diplopoda) to Flooding and Drought Conditions.

    PubMed

    Marx, Michael Thomas; Guhmann, Patrick; Decker, Peter

    2012-01-01

    Floodplain forests and wetlands are amongst the most diverse and species rich habitats on earth. Arthropods are a key group for the high diversity pattern of these landscapes, due to the fact that the change between flooding and drought causes in different life cycles and in a variety of adaptations in the different taxa. The floodplain forests and wetlands of Central Amazonia are well investigated and over the last 50 years many adaptations of several hexapod, myriapod and arachnid orders were described. In contrast to Amazonia the Middle European floodplains were less investigated concerning the adaptations of arthropods to flood and drought conditions. This review summarizes the adaptations and predispositions of springtails, web spiders, millipedes and centipedes to the changeable flood and drought conditions of Middle European floodplain forests and wetlands. Furthermore the impact of regional climate change predictions like increasing aperiodic summer floods and the decrease of typical winter and spring floods are discussed in this article. PMID:26487164

  9. Harvestmen (Arachnida: Opiliones) from the Middle Jurassic of China

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Huang, Diying; Selden, Paul A.; Dunlop, Jason A.

    2009-08-01

    Harvestmen (Arachnida: Opiliones) are familiar animals in most terrestrial habitats but are rare as fossils, with only a handful of species known from each of the Palaeozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic eras. Fossil harvestmen from Middle Jurassic (ca. 165 Ma) strata of Daohugou, Inner Mongolia, China, are described as Mesobunus martensi gen. et sp. nov. and Daohugopilio sheari gen. et sp. nov.; the two genera differ primarily in the relative length of their legs and details of the pedipalps. Jurassic arachnids are extremely rare and these fossils represent the first Jurassic, and only the fourth Mesozoic, record of Opiliones. These remarkably well-preserved and modern-looking fossils are assigned to the Eupnoi, whereby M. martensi demonstrably belongs in Sclerosomatidae. It thus represents the oldest record of a modern harvestman family and implies a high degree of evolutionary stasis among one of the most widespread and abundant groups of long-legged, round-bodied harvestmen.

  10. Endecous peruassuensis n. sp. (Orthoptera: Grylloidea: Phalangopsidae) from caves of Eastern Brazil: evidence of isolation in the subterranean realm and discussion about troglomorphisms.

    PubMed

    Bolfarini, Marcio P; Bichuette, Maria Elina

    2015-01-01

    We describe a new species of the genus Endecous Saussure (1878), recorded at the Lapa do Cipó and Olhos d'Água caves, which are located in the Itacarambi municipality, Minas Gerais state, Eastern Brazil. Another species, E. aguassay Mews, 2008 was recordedin the surroundings of the caves. The genus Endecous corresponds to the most common cricket in Brazilian hypogean environments. In general, these crickets inhabit the areas around cave entrances up to the aphotic zones of caves. The genus Endecous is the only cave cricket to present troglobiomorphosis, i.e., an apterous condition. The distribution of the new species is limited to these two caves, which suggests an endemism in this karst system similar to the distribution of other endemic animals, such as harvestmen and amblypygid arachnids. This species is the sixth troglobitic one described for Olhos d'Água cave, which sets this cave as a spot of subterranean fauna in Brazil. PMID:26624364

  11. Trap design for the brown recluse spider, Loxosceles reclusa.

    PubMed

    Parks, Jennifer; Stoecker, William V; Paige, Robert L

    2013-01-01

    While there are limited options for chemical-free Arachnid pest control, glue-traps are one suitable alternative to pesticides. The effectiveness of several three-dimensional glue-trap shapes for trapping the brown recluse spider, Loxosceles reclusa Gertsch and Mulaik (Araneae: Sicariidae), was investigated using four novel glue-trap shape designs, which were compared to an existing design currently on the market. These four novel and one standard shape designs were tested using pairwise comparisons. The most preferred trap design was a flat glue-trap with no covering. Although this type of trap was most efficient for capturing L. reclusa, it can pose risks in homes with children and pets for obvious reasons. Among the traps with coverings, the vertical strut trap was most preferred by the spiders, and should perhaps be the trap of choice for homeowners with children and pets. PMID:23909614

  12. Trap Design for the Brown Recluse Spider, Loxosceles reclusa

    PubMed Central

    Parks, Jennifer; Stoecker, William V.; Paige, Robert L.

    2013-01-01

    While there are limited options for chemical-free Arachnid pest control, glue-traps are one suitable alternative to pesticides. The effectiveness of several three-dimensional glue-trap shapes for trapping the brown recluse spider, Loxosceles reclusa Gertsch and Mulaik (Araneae: Sicariidae), was investigated using four novel glue-trap shape designs, which were compared to an existing design currently on the market. These four novel and one standard shape designs were tested using pairwise comparisons. The most preferred trap design was a flat glue-trap with no covering. Although this type of trap was most efficient for capturing L. reclusa, it can pose risks in homes with children and pets for obvious reasons. Among the traps with coverings, the vertical strut trap was most preferred by the spiders, and should perhaps be the trap of choice for homeowners with children and pets. PMID:23909614

  13. Surgical treatment of a brown recluse spider bite: a case study and literature review.

    PubMed

    Delasotta, Lawrence A; Orozco, Fabio; Ong, Alvin; Sheikh, Emran

    2014-01-01

    Spider bite envenomation can cause local, constitutional, and/or systemic symptoms. The present case study reports on 5 years of follow-up for a "probable" brown recluse spider bite of the foot and ankle that was refractory to conservative treatment and was subsequently treated with surgery. The present case study reports the atypical occurrence of long-term peripheral neuropathy after necrotic arachnidism induced by "probable" brown recluse (Loxosceles recluse) envenomation, in a 46-year-old male. The state of published data suggests to minimize inflammation and tissue necrosis, prevent bacterial superinfection, and control pain levels. For patients with long-term peripheral neuropathy refractory to conservative therapy, surgical intervention may further improve their symptoms. PMID:24666977

  14. Gravity Reception and Cardiac Function in the Spider

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Finck, A.

    1985-01-01

    The following features of the arachnid gravity system were studied. (1) the absolute threshold to hyper-gz is quite low indicating fine proprioreceptive properties of the lyriform organ, the Gz/vibration detector; (2) the neurogenic heart of the spider is a good dependent variable for assessing its behavior to Gz and other stimuli which produce mechanical effects on the exoskeleton; (3) Not only is the cardiac response useful but it is now understood to be an integral part of the system which compensates for the consequences of gravity in the spider (an hydraulic leg extension); and (4) a theoretical model was proposed in which a mechanical amplifier, the leg lever, converts a weak force (at the tarsus) to a strong force (at the patella), capable of compressing the exoskeleton and consequently the lyriform receptor.

  15. A 520 million-year-old chelicerate larva.

    PubMed

    Liu, Yu; Haug, Joachim T; Haug, Carolin; Briggs, Derek E G; Hou, Xianguang

    2014-01-01

    An important survival strategy for animal species is the so-called niche differentiation between larva and adult. Different developmental stages of the same animal occupy different ecological niches to avoid competing for food or other essential resources. Here, we describe an exceptionally preserved larval stage of the short great appendage (SGA) arthropod (megacheiran) Leanchoilia illecebrosa from the early Cambrian Chengjiang biota of China. The larval specimen preserves fine details of the main feeding limb, the SGA, which are unknown in the adult of the same species. This discovery demonstrates that niche differentiation during ontogeny was developed in this species of megacheiran--a group of fossil arthropods that has been considered to be early representatives of Chelicerata, which includes horseshoe crabs and arachnids. Hence, this type of niche differentiation, which is common today, originated from the early Cambrian. PMID:25022702

  16. A theory of vibrational prey localization in two dimensions: the sand scorpion

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    van Hemmen, J. Leo

    2000-03-01

    Sand scorpions, and many other arachnids, find their prey at night by localizing the source of mechanical waves produced by prey movements. Substrate vibrations propagating through sand evoke stimulus-locked action potentials from slit sensilla on the scorpion's eight `feet' (tarsi). We present a neuronal model to account for stimulus angle determination in a two-dimensional plane using a population of second-order neurons, each receiving excitatory input from one tarsus and inhibition from a triad opposite to it. This input opens a time window whose width determines the firing probability of each of the second-order neurons. The population then `votes' for the direction. Stochastic resonance is realized through tuning the balance between excitation and inhibition. The agreement with behavioral experiments on sand scorpions is excellent.

  17. New species of Austropurcellia, cryptic short-range endemic mite harvestmen (Arachnida, Opiliones, Cyphophthalmi) from Australia's Wet Tropics biodiversity hotspot.

    PubMed

    Jay, Katya R; Popkin-Hall, Zachary R; Coblens, Michelle J; Oberski, Jill T; Sharma, Prashant P; Boyer, Sarah L

    2016-01-01

    The genus Austropurcellia is a lineage of tiny leaf-litter arachnids that inhabit tropical rainforests throughout the eastern coast of Queensland, Australia. The majority of their diversity is found within the Wet Tropics rainforests of northeast Queensland, an area known for its exceptionally high levels of biodiversity and endemism. Studying the biogeographic history of limited-dispersal invertebrates in the Wet Tropics can provide insight into the role of climatic changes such as rainforest contraction in shaping rainforest biodiversity patterns. Here we describe six new species of mite harvestmen from the Wet Tropics rainforests, identified using morphological data, and discuss the biogeography of Austropurcellia with distributions of all known species. With this taxonomic contribution, the majority of the known diversity of the genus has been documented. PMID:27199608

  18. Pole to Pole Intraocular Transit of Tarantula Hairs—An Intriguing Cause of Red Eye

    PubMed Central

    Sheth, Hiten G.; Pacheco, Patricio; Sallam, Ahmed; Lightman, Sue

    2009-01-01

    This intriguing case report provides novel images and a description of the anterior and rarer posterior segment findings seen in ocular inflammation associated with tarantula spider hair exposure. We present an interventional case report of a 9-year-old boy who presented with a red, sore eye. Slit lamp examination revealed right eye injection, multiple small hairs at differing levels of the cornea with associated opacities and inflammation within the anterior and posterior segments of the eye. Only after detailed and repeated questioning did the aetiology become apparent. Conservative management in the form of topical steroid and antibiotics was commenced and he did well with no obvious sequelae in the medium term. Healthcare personnel (and indeed pet shop owners, arachnid enthusiasts and even parents) should be aware of the potential ocular complications of tarantula hair exposure and clinicians should perhaps specifically ask about pet-keeping when presented with an unusual red eye. PMID:20029643

  19. Food of nestling green-backed herons in West Central Mississippi

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Ensor, K.L.; Dusi, J.L.; White, D.H.

    1986-01-01

    Food habits of the green-backed heron have received much attention recently, though little data exists in the literature on food items fed to nestlings. Analysis of 74 nestling boluses collected between 5 May and 10 July 1985 included four categories: a) number of prey items, b) % of total individuals by number, c) % frequency of herons with that particular prey item, d) % of total diet by weight. By class, fish dominated the diet, followed by insects, amphibians, crustaceans, and arachnids in descending order. Amphibians, however, had a higher % of total diet by weight than insects. The mosquitofish (Gambusia affinis) made up the largest part of the diet by # of prey items and % of total individuals by #. Bowfin (Amia calva) was the major prey item by weight. Back-swimmers (F. Notonectidae) occurred in more boluses than any other prey item. Lengths of prey items by class will also be discussed.

  20. [Retrospective study on Latrodectus stings in Bahia, Brazil].

    PubMed

    Lira-da-Silva, R M; Matos, G B; Sampaio, R O; Nunes, T B

    1995-01-01

    This work is a retrospective study of latrodectism in the State of Bahia, Brazil, from August 1980 to July 1990. The data concerning the accidents were obtained from file cards at the Antivenom Information Center of Bahia (AVICB). Latrodectus curacavienis was the ethiologic agent identified in 28% of the arachnid accidents. The major incidence was registered in urban area (57%) affecting men (70%) more than women, with 10 to 29 year-old age group (58%). Local pain (56%), erythematous papula (29%) and light oedema (17%) were the principal local symptoms. Pain in the limbs (29%), tremor and rigidities (29%), sweating (28%), limbs and arms paresthesia (21%) and abdominal pain (17%) were systemic ones. The treatment was mainly symptomatic (67%) and antivenin serum was used in 21% of the cases. After serotherapy, 64% of the patients left the hospital within less than 24 hours. PMID:7480914

  1. New species of Austropurcellia, cryptic short-range endemic mite harvestmen (Arachnida, Opiliones, Cyphophthalmi) from Australia’s Wet Tropics biodiversity hotspot

    PubMed Central

    Jay, Katya R.; Popkin-Hall, Zachary R.; Coblens, Michelle J.; Oberski, Jill T.; Sharma, Prashant P.; Boyer, Sarah L.

    2016-01-01

    Abstract The genus Austropurcellia is a lineage of tiny leaf-litter arachnids that inhabit tropical rainforests throughout the eastern coast of Queensland, Australia. The majority of their diversity is found within the Wet Tropics rainforests of northeast Queensland, an area known for its exceptionally high levels of biodiversity and endemism. Studying the biogeographic history of limited-dispersal invertebrates in the Wet Tropics can provide insight into the role of climatic changes such as rainforest contraction in shaping rainforest biodiversity patterns. Here we describe six new species of mite harvestmen from the Wet Tropics rainforests, identified using morphological data, and discuss the biogeography of Austropurcellia with distributions of all known species. With this taxonomic contribution, the majority of the known diversity of the genus has been documented. PMID:27199608

  2. Molecular characterisation of a pH-gated chloride channel from Sarcoptes scabiei.

    PubMed

    Mounsey, Kate E; Dent, Joseph A; Holt, Deborah C; McCarthy, James; Currie, Bart J; Walton, Shelley F

    2007-09-01

    Reports of ivermectin resistance in scabies mites raise concerns regarding the sustainability of mass intervention programs for scabies worldwide and for the treatment of crusted scabies. Ligand gated ion channels (LGICs) are the primary targets of ivermectin in invertebrates. We report the molecular characterisation of SsCl--a novel LGIC from Sarcoptes scabiei var. hominis. While SsCl shows sequence similarity to other LGICs, phylogenetic analysis does not suggest strong homology to conventional glutamate, histamine or GABA gated channels. Instead, it is most similar to Drosophila pH-sensitive and group 1 clades. When expressed in Xenopus oocytes, SsCl forms a homomeric, pH-gated chloride channel that is irreversibly activated by ivermectin. These results provide the first confirmation that this group of LGIC exists in arachnids, and suggest that SsCl may be an in vivo target of ivermectin in S. scabiei. PMID:17602250

  3. Two New Cave-Dwelling Species of the Short-Tailed Whipscorpion Genus Rowlandius (Arachnida: Schizomida: Hubbardiidae) from Northeastern Brazil, with Comments on Male Dimorphism

    PubMed Central

    Santos, Adalberto J.; Ferreira, Rodrigo Lopes; Buzatto, Bruno A.

    2013-01-01

    Two new species of the arachnid order Schizomida, Rowlandius ubajara sp.nov. and Rowlandius potiguar sp.nov., are described based on both male and female specimens collected in caves from northeastern Brazil. Rowlandius ubajara is known only from the Ubajara Cave, in the state of Ceará; R. potiguar is recorded from 20 caves of the Apodi Limestone Group, in the state of Rio Grande do Norte. A remarkable dimorphism in male pedipalp length is described and analyzed in R. potiguar. The distribution of male pedipalp length is clearly bimodal in the species, but the two male morphs (homeomorphic and heteromorphic) present some overlap in the sizes of this structure. Moreover, males show a steeper allometry in pedipalp length than females, indicating that this trait is under a different selective regime in males and in females. PMID:23723989

  4. Chemosystematics in the Opiliones (Arachnida): a comment on the evolutionary history of alkylphenols and benzoquinones in the scent gland secretions of Laniatores

    PubMed Central

    Raspotnig, Günther; Bodner, Michaela; Schäffer, Sylvia; Koblmüller, Stephan; Schönhofer, Axel; Karaman, Ivo

    2015-01-01

    Large prosomal scent glands constitute a major synapomorphic character of the arachnid order Opiliones. These glands produce a variety of chemicals very specific to opilionid taxa of different taxonomic levels, and thus represent a model system to investigate the evolutionary traits in exocrine secretion chemistry across a phylogenetically old group of animals. The chemically best-studied opilionid group is certainly Laniatores, and currently available chemical data allow first hypotheses linking the phylogeny of this group to the evolution of major chemical classes of secretion chemistry. Such hypotheses are essential to decide upon a best-fitting explanation of the distribution of scent-gland secretion compounds across extant laniatorean taxa, and hence represent a key toward a well-founded opilionid chemosystematics. PMID:26074662

  5. Male dimorphism and alternative reproductive tactics in harvestmen (Arachnida: Opiliones).

    PubMed

    Buzatto, Bruno A; Machado, Glauco

    2014-11-01

    Strong sexual selection may lead small males or males in poor condition to adopt alternative reproductive tactics (ARTs) as a way to avoid the risk of being completely excluded from the mating pool. ARTs, sometimes accompanying morphological dimorphism among males, are taxonomically widespread, especially common in arthropods. Here we review the current knowledge on ARTs and male dimorphism in a diverse but relatively overlooked group of arachnids, the order Opiliones, popularly known as harvestmen or daddy long-legs. We begin with a summary of harvestman mating systems, followed by a review of the two lines of evidence for the presence of ARTs in the group: (1) morphological data from natural populations and museum collections; and (2) behavioral information from field studies. Despite receiving less attention than spiders, scorpions and insects, our review shows that harvestmen are an exciting group of organisms that are potentially great models for sexual selection studies focused on ARTs. We also suggest that investigating the proximate mechanisms underlying male dimorphism in the order would be especially important. New research on ARTs and male dimorphism will have implications for our understanding of the evolution of mating systems, sperm competition, and polyandry. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled: Neotropical Behaviour. PMID:24983786

  6. A novel marine silk

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Kronenberger, Katrin; Dicko, Cedric; Vollrath, Fritz

    2012-01-01

    The discovery of a novel silk production system in a marine amphipod provides insights into the wider potential of natural silks. The tube-building corophioid amphipod Crassicorophium bonellii produces from its legs fibrous, adhesive underwater threads that combine barnacle cement biology with aspects of spider silk thread extrusion spinning. We characterised the filamentous silk as a mixture of mucopolysaccharides and protein deriving from glands representing two distinct types. The carbohydrate and protein silk secretion is dominated by complex β-sheet structures and a high content of charged amino acid residues. The filamentous secretion product exits the gland through a pore near the tip of the secretory leg after having moved through a duct, which subdivides into several small ductules all terminating in a spindle-shaped chamber. This chamber communicates with the exterior and may be considered the silk reservoir and processing/mixing space, in which the silk is mechanically and potentially chemically altered and becomes fibrous. We assert that further study of this probably independently evolved, marine arthropod silk processing and secretion system can provide not only important insights into the more complex arachnid and insect silks but also into crustacean adhesion cements.

  7. A multilocus molecular phylogeny of the endemic North American camel spider family Eremobatidae (Arachnida: Solifugae).

    PubMed

    Cushing, Paula E; Graham, Matthew R; Prendini, Lorenzo; Brookhart, Jack O

    2015-11-01

    Camel spiders (Solifugae) are a diverse but poorly studied order of arachnids. No robust phylogenetic analysis has ever been carried out for the order or for any family within the Solifugae. We present a molecular phylogenetic analysis of the endemic North American family Eremobatidae Kraepelin, 1899, the first such analysis of a family of Solifugae. We use a multi-locus exemplar approach using DNA sequences from partial nuclear (28S rDNA and Histone H3) and mitochondrial (16S rRNA and Cytochrome c Oxidase I) gene loci for 81 ingroup exemplars representing all genera of Eremobatidae and most species groups within the genera Eremobates Banks, 1900, Eremochelis Roewer, 1934, and Hemerotrecha Banks, 1903. Maximum Likelihood and two Bayesian analyses consistently recovered the monophyly of Eremobatidae, Eremorhax Roewer, 1934 and Eremothera Muma, 1951 along with a group comprising all subfamily Eremobatinae Kraepelin, 1901 exemplars except Horribates bantai Muma, 1989 and a group comprising all Eremocosta Roewer, 1934 exemplars except Eremocosta acuitalpanensis (Vasquez and Gavin, 2000). The subfamily Therobatinae Muma, 1951 and the genera Chanbria Muma, 1951, Hemerotrecha, Eremochelis, and Eremobates were polyphyletic or paraphyletic. Only the banksi group of Hemerotrecha was monophyletic; the other species groups recognized within Eremobates, Eremochelis, and Hemerotrecha were paraphyletic or polyphyletic. We found no support for the monophyly of the subfamily Therobatinae. A time-calibrated phylogeny dated the most recent common ancestor of extant eremobatids to the late Eocene to early Miocene, with a mean estimate in the late Oligocene (32.2 Ma). PMID:26163941

  8. Conservation status of Chinese species: (2) Invertebrates.

    PubMed

    Xie, Yan; Wang, Sung

    2007-06-01

    A total of 2441 invertebrate species were evaluated using the IUCN Red List Criteria and Regional Guidelines. Approximately 30 experts were involved in this project, which covered a wide range of species, including jellyfish, corals, planarians, snails, mollusks, bivalves, decapods, benthic crustaceans, arachnids (spiders, scorpions), butterflies, moths, beetles, sea cucumbers, sea urchins, sea stars, acorn worms and lancelets. In general, invertebrate species in China were found to be severely threatened, with 0.9% being critically endangered, 13.44% endangered and 20.63% vulnerable. All species of hermatypic corals and planarians are threatened. More than 80% of evaluated species face serious threat due to habitat destruction by coral collection, logging, non-woody vegetation collection, timber plantations, non-timber plantations, extraction and/or livestock. Other threats are intrinsic factors, harvesting by humans, alien invasive species and pollution. The main intrinsic factors contributing to the high levels of threat are limited dispersal and restricted range. No conservation measures have been taken for 70% of the threatened invertebrates evaluated. Existing conservation measures include: strengthening of national and international legislation (Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora), increasing public awareness, studying population trends/monitoring, and establishment of protected areas. The major conservation measure employed is strengthening of policies. Relative to the situation worldwide (2006 IUCN Red List), there is little information available about invertebrate extinctions in China. PMID:21396022

  9. The spider hemolymph clot proteome reveals high concentrations of hemocyanin and von Willebrand factor-like proteins.

    PubMed

    Sanggaard, Kristian W; Dyrlund, Thomas F; Bechsgaard, Jesper S; Scavenius, Carsten; Wang, Tobias; Bilde, Trine; Enghild, Jan J

    2016-02-01

    Arthropods include chelicerates, crustaceans, and insects that all have open circulation systems and thus require different properties of their coagulation system than vertebrates. Although the clotting reaction in the chelicerate horseshoe crab (Family: Limulidae) has been described in details, the overall protein composition of the resulting clot has not been analyzed for any of the chelicerates. The largest class among the chelicerates is the arachnids, which includes spiders, ticks, mites, and scorpions. Here, we use a mass spectrometry-based approach to characterize the spider hemolymph clot proteome from the Brazilian whiteknee tarantula, Acanthoscurria geniculata. We focused on the insoluble part of the clot and demonstrated high concentrations of proteins homologous to the hemostasis-related and multimerization-prone von Willebrand factor. These proteins, which include hemolectins and vitellogenin homologous, were previously identified as essential components of the hemolymph clot in crustaceans and insects. Their presence in the spider hemolymph clot suggests that the origin of these proteins' function in coagulation predates the split between chelicerates and mandibulata. The clot proteome reveals that the major proteinaceous component is the oxygen-transporting and phenoloxidase-displaying abundant hemolymph protein hemocyanin, suggesting that this protein also plays a role in clot biology. Furthermore, quantification of the peptidome after coagulation revealed the simultaneous activation of both the innate immune system and the coagulation system. In general, many of the identified clot-proteins are related to the innate immune system, and our results support the previously suggested crosstalk between immunity and coagulation in arthropods. PMID:26621385

  10. Quo vadis venomics? A roadmap to neglected venomous invertebrates.

    PubMed

    von Reumont, Bjoern Marcus; Campbell, Lahcen I; Jenner, Ronald A

    2014-01-01

    Venomics research is being revolutionized by the increased use of sensitive -omics techniques to identify venom toxins and their transcripts in both well studied and neglected venomous taxa. The study of neglected venomous taxa is necessary both for understanding the full diversity of venom systems that have evolved in the animal kingdom, and to robustly answer fundamental questions about the biology and evolution of venoms without the distorting effect that can result from the current bias introduced by some heavily studied taxa. In this review we draw the outlines of a roadmap into the diversity of poorly studied and understood venomous and putatively venomous invertebrates, which together represent tens of thousands of unique venoms. The main groups we discuss are crustaceans, flies, centipedes, non-spider and non-scorpion arachnids, annelids, molluscs, platyhelminths, nemerteans, and echinoderms. We review what is known about the morphology of the venom systems in these groups, the composition of their venoms, and the bioactivities of the venoms to provide researchers with an entry into a large and scattered literature. We conclude with a short discussion of some important methodological aspects that have come to light with the recent use of new -omics techniques in the study of venoms. PMID:25533518

  11. The embryonic origin of the ampullate silk glands of the spider Cupiennius salei.

    PubMed

    Hilbrant, Maarten; Damen, Wim G M

    2015-05-01

    Silk production in spiders is considered a key innovation, and to have been vital for the diversification of the clade. The evolutionary origin of the organs involved in spider silk production, however, and in particular of the silk glands, is poorly understood. Homologies have been proposed between these and other glands found in arachnids, but lacking knowledge of the embryonic development of spider silk glands hampers an evaluation of hypotheses. This study focuses on the embryonic origin of the largest silk glands of the spider Cupiennius salei, the major and minor ampullate glands. We show how the ampullate glands originate from ectodermal invaginations on the embryonic spinneret limb buds, in relation to morphogenesis of these buds. Moreover, we visualize the subsequent growth of the ampullate glands in sections of the early postembryonic stages. The invaginations are shown to correlate with expression of the proneural gene CsASH2, which is remarkable since it has been proposed that spider silk glands and their nozzles originate from sensory bristles. Hence, by confirming the ectodermal origin of spider silk glands, and by describing the (post-)embryonic morphogenesis of the ampullate glands, this work provides a starting point for further investigating into the genetic program that underlies their development. PMID:25882741

  12. Spider Transcriptomes Identify Ancient Large-Scale Gene Duplication Event Potentially Important in Silk Gland Evolution.

    PubMed

    Clarke, Thomas H; Garb, Jessica E; Hayashi, Cheryl Y; Arensburger, Peter; Ayoub, Nadia A

    2015-07-01

    The evolution of specialized tissues with novel functions, such as the silk synthesizing glands in spiders, is likely an influential driver of adaptive success. Large-scale gene duplication events and subsequent paralog divergence are thought to be required for generating evolutionary novelty. Such an event has been proposed for spiders, but not tested. We de novo assembled transcriptomes from three cobweb weaving spider species. Based on phylogenetic analyses of gene families with representatives from each of the three species, we found numerous duplication events indicative of a whole genome or segmental duplication. We estimated the age of the gene duplications relative to several speciation events within spiders and arachnids and found that the duplications likely occurred after the divergence of scorpions (order Scorpionida) and spiders (order Araneae), but before the divergence of the spider suborders Mygalomorphae and Araneomorphae, near the evolutionary origin of spider silk glands. Transcripts that are expressed exclusively or primarily within black widow silk glands are more likely to have a paralog descended from the ancient duplication event and have elevated amino acid replacement rates compared with other transcripts. Thus, an ancient large-scale gene duplication event within the spider lineage was likely an important source of molecular novelty during the evolution of silk gland-specific expression. This duplication event may have provided genetic material for subsequent silk gland diversification in the true spiders (Araneomorphae). PMID:26058392

  13. Impact of pest control strategies on the arthropodofauna living in bird nests built in nestboxes in pear and apple orchards.

    PubMed

    Roy, Lise; Bouvier, Jean-Charles; Lavigne, Claire; Galès, Mathieu; Buronfosse, Thierry

    2013-08-01

    Pesticide applications have a strong impact on biodiversity in agroecosystems. The present study aimed to assess the impact of pest control strategies on the arthropodofauna of Parus major nests built within nestboxes installed in orchards. Unlike many studied groups, these arthropod communities are not in direct contact with pesticide sprays (on account of their being sheltered by nestboxes) and are also unable to move away from the treated area. In this pilot study, we estimated the prevalence and the taxonomic and ecological diversities of arthropodofauna sampled in the nests and assessed the extent to which the whole and nest-specific arthropodofauna were affected by pest control strategies. Sixteen different insect and arachnid Primary Taxonomic Groups (PTGs, order level or below) were found in nests. The best represented PTGs (≥10% occurrence in years 2007 and 2008) were Psocoptera (Insecta, detritivorous/saprophagous), detritivorous/saprophagous Astigmata (Acari) and hematophagous Mesostigmata (Acari). Pest control strategies had a large impact on the prevalence of arthropods in nests, with higher proportions of nests hosting arthropods in organic orchards than in conventional orchards and with intermediate proportions in nests in Integrated Pest Management orchards. In contrast, pest control strategies had no significant effect on the composition of the arthropod communities when only nests hosting nidicolous arthropods were considered. PMID:23448302

  14. Agonistic signals received by an arthropod filiform hair allude to the prevalence of near-field sound communication

    PubMed Central

    Santer, Roger D; Hebets, Eileen A

    2007-01-01

    Arthropod filiform hairs respond to air particle movements and are among the most sensitive animal sensory organs. In many species, they are tuned to detect predators or prey and trigger escape or prey capture behaviours. Here we show for the first time that these hairs also receive intraspecific near-field sound signals in an arachnid. During agonistic encounters, whip spiders (Arachnida, Amblypygi) perform antenniform leg vibration (ALV) displays that have significantly longer duration in contest winners than losers. During an ALV display: (i) the vibrating antenniform leg of the displaying whip spider is positioned close to the trichobothria (filiform hairs) on its opponent's walking legs, (ii) the vibrating antenniform leg can excite these trichobothria via air movements and without direct contact, (iii) the antenniform leg of the displaying whip spider vibrates at a frequency that causes particularly strong, sustained excitation and little adaptation in the trichobothria, and (iv) the duration of an ALV display can be extracted from the response of a trichobothrium. Since filiform hairs are widespread among arthropods, communication via such hairs could be extremely prevalent. PMID:18055386

  15. Giant neurons and associated synapses in the peripheral nervous system of whip spiders.

    PubMed

    Foelix, R F; Troyer, D

    1980-08-01

    Whip spiders (Amblypygi) are arachnids with a specialized first pair of legs. These legs are unusually long (20-25 cm) and are not used for walking. Instead their lengthy tarsi (7-8 cm) are covered with thousands of sensory hairs (mechano- and chemoreceptors). The legs thus resemble antennae of insects. Each sensory hair is associated with 4-40 neurons whose axons are grouped together to form two large tarsal nerves. The nerves contain about 23 000 sensory axons. Whereas most of the axons measure only 0.1-0.2 microns in diameter, a few are exceptionally large (3-20 microns). These are giant fibres. Their large somata are located in specific segments of the tarsi. The branched dendrites of the giant neurons receive hundreds of chemical synapses, presumably from the sensory axons of the hair sensilla. Since stimulation of the tarsal tip elicits fast withdrawal reaction (greater than or equal to 80 ms), it is likely that the giant fibres provide the pathway for the rapid conduction of nerve impulses to the motor centres of the C.N.S. The system is comparable to the giant fibre system of certain insects. In contrast, however, the giant interneurons and associated synapses of whip spiders are not located in the C.N.S., but lie some 20 cm removed in the periphery. Thus, some primary sensory information already becomes processed in the peripheral nervous system, before it reaches the C.N.S. PMID:7441302

  16. Spermatozoa and spermiogenesis of Liphistius cf. phuketensis (Mesothelae, Araneae, Arachnida) with notes on phylogenetic implications.

    PubMed

    Michalik, Peter

    2007-09-01

    The present study deals with the spermatozoa and spermiogenesis of Liphistius cf. phuketensis, a representative of the most primitive and enigmatic spider group Mesothelae. The general organization of the spermatozoa is very similar to the condition known from Amblypygi supporting a sister-group relationship between Araneae and Amblypygi. Besides plesiomorphic characters such as, e.g., an elongated and corkscrew shaped nucleus, the sperm cells are characterized by several apomorphic characters, e.g., the giant body and conspicuous membranous areas which are formed at the end of spermiogenesis. As the transfer form, coenospermia are formed at the end of spermiogenesis, which strongly supports the idea that this type of sperm aggregation is the primitive transfer form within spiders. A very remarkable character of the spermatozoa of some groups of arachnids is the coiling of the main cell organelles at the end of spermiogenesis. Previously, the Mesothelae were believed to be the only spider group which does not show a complete coiling of the main cell organelles. With the present study the first evidence of a complete coiling of spermatozoa within this primitive spider group could be documented, indicating that this character is part of the ground pattern of spider spermatozoa. Consequently, the incomplete coiling seems to be a synapomorphy of certain species of Mesothelae, which sheds new light on the discussion of the phylogenetic relationships of this group. PMID:18089111

  17. Agonistic signals received by an arthropod filiform hair allude to the prevalence of near-field sound communication.

    PubMed

    Santer, Roger D; Hebets, Eileen A

    2008-02-22

    Arthropod filiform hairs respond to air particle movements and are among the most sensitive animal sensory organs. In many species, they are tuned to detect predators or prey and trigger escape or prey capture behaviours. Here we show for the first time that these hairs also receive intraspecific near-field sound signals in an arachnid. During agonistic encounters, whip spiders (Arachnida, Amblypygi) perform antenniform leg vibration (ALV) displays that have significantly longer duration in contest winners than losers. During an ALV display: (i) the vibrating antenniform leg of the displaying whip spider is positioned close to the trichobothria (filiform hairs) on its opponent's walking legs, (ii) the vibrating antenniform leg can excite these trichobothria via air movements and without direct contact, (iii) the antenniform leg of the displaying whip spider vibrates at a frequency that causes particularly strong, sustained excitation and little adaptation in the trichobothria, and (iv) the duration of an ALV display can be extracted from the response of a trichobothrium. Since filiform hairs are widespread among arthropods, communication via such hairs could be extremely prevalent. PMID:18055386

  18. Microwhip Scorpions (Palpigradi) Feed on Heterotrophic Cyanobacteria in Slovak Caves – A Curiosity among Arachnida

    PubMed Central

    Smrž, Jaroslav; Kováč, Ĺubomír; Mikeš, Jaromír; Lukešová, Alena

    2013-01-01

    To date, only morphological and anatomical descriptions of microwhip scorpions (Arachnida: Palpigradi) have been published. This very rare group is enigmatic not only in its relationships to other arachnids, but especially due to the fact that these animals dwell only underground (in caves, soil, and interstitial spaces). We observed the curious feeding habit of the microwhip scorpion Eukoenenia spelaea over the course of one year in Ardovská Cave, located in Slovakia's Karst region. We chose histology as our methodology in studying 17 specimens and based it upon Masson's triple staining, fluorescent light and confocal microscopy. Single-celled cyanobacteria (blue-green algae) were conspicuously predominant in the gut of all studied palpigrades. Digestibility of the consumed cyanobacteria was supported by the presence of guanine crystals, glycogen deposits and haemocytes inside the palpigrade body. Cyanobacteria, the oldest cellular organisms on Earth, are very resistant to severe conditions in caves, including even darkness. Therefore, the cyanobacteria are able to survive in dark caves as nearly heterotrophic organisms and are consumed by cave palpigrades. Such feeding habit is extraordinary within the almost wholly predacious orders of the class Arachnida, and particularly so due to the type of food observed. PMID:24146804

  19. Double spermatogenesis in Chelicerata.

    PubMed

    Alberti, Gerd

    2005-12-01

    Sperm dimorphism is a rare phenomenon in Chelicerata. Until now, it was known only from three species of the opilionid genus Siro (Sironidae, Cyphophthalmi). Fertilizing (eusperm) and nonfertilizing spermatozoa (parasperm) develop in the same cyst and are thus sister cells. The fine structure of the spermatozoa of two species has been examined and is compared here. In contrast to Siro rubens, S. duricorius spermatozoa lack an acrosomal complex. Both sperm types produce a transitional process, a more or less modified flagellum, which is later retracted. Hence, the spermatozoa are aflagellate. Eusperm and parasperm of all three species form highly ordered sperm balls that are stored in the deferent duct. Reviewing and adding new results about the sperm dimorphism in this arachnid taxon provides the basis for some considerations of another enigmatic morphological character found in Uropygi and Amblypygi, i.e., the tubular accessory genital glands that show holocrine extrusion. These glands are suggested to represent modified, infertile derivatives of the testis anlage. Their secretion is produced in a way reminiscent of a strongly degenerated spermatogenesis. Consequently, these products may be regarded as strongly degenerated germ cells representing a line of germ cell development, which has been separated very early in spermatogenesis from the usual line leading to fertilizing sperm cells. This further, although less evident, case of probable dichotomous germ cell development is discussed with respect to the controversial phylogenetic-systematic relationships between Uropygi (Thelyphonida and Schizomida), Amblypygi, and Araneae. PMID:15549701

  20. CDM analysis

    NASA Technical Reports Server (NTRS)

    Larson, Robert E.; Mcentire, Paul L.; Oreilly, John G.

    1993-01-01

    The C Data Manager (CDM) is an advanced tool for creating an object-oriented database and for processing queries related to objects stored in that database. The CDM source code was purchased and will be modified over the course of the Arachnid project. In this report, the modified CDM is referred to as MCDM. Using MCDM, a detailed series of experiments was designed and conducted on a Sun Sparcstation. The primary results and analysis of the CDM experiment are provided in this report. The experiments involved creating the Long-form Faint Source Catalog (LFSC) database and then analyzing it with respect to following: (1) the relationships between the volume of data and the time required to create a database; (2) the storage requirements of the database files; and (3) the properties of query algorithms. The effort focused on defining, implementing, and analyzing seven experimental scenarios: (1) find all sources by right ascension--RA; (2) find all sources by declination--DEC; (3) find all sources in the right ascension interval--RA1, RA2; (4) find all sources in the declination interval--DEC1, DEC2; (5) find all sources in the rectangle defined by--RA1, RA2, DEC1, DEC2; (6) find all sources that meet certain compound conditions; and (7) analyze a variety of query algorithms. Throughout this document, the numerical results obtained from these scenarios are reported; conclusions are presented at the end of the document.

  1. Functional anatomy of the pretarsus in whip spiders (Arachnida, Amblypygi).

    PubMed

    Wolff, Jonas O; Seiter, Michael; Gorb, Stanislav N

    2015-11-01

    Whip spiders (Amblypygi) are a small, cryptic order of arachnids mainly distributed in the tropics. Some basal lineages (families Charinidae and Charontidae) have adhesive pads on the tips of their six walking legs. The present study describes the macro- and ultrastructure of these pads and investigates their contact mechanics and adhesive strength on smooth and rough substrates. Furthermore, the structure of the pretarsus and its kinematics are compared in Charon cf. grayi (with an adhesive pad) and Phrynus longipes (without an adhesive pad). The adhesive pads exhibit an elaborate structure with a unique combination of structural features of smooth and hairy foot pads including a long transversal contact zone performing lateral detachment, a thick internally-branched cuticle with longitudinal ribs and hexagonal surface microstructures with spatulate keels. The contact area of the pads on smooth glass is discontinuous due to the spatulate microstructures with a discontinuous detachment, which could be observed in vivo by high speed videography at a rate of up to 10,000 fps. Adhesive strength was measured with vertical whole animal pull-off tests, obtaining mean values between 55 and 200 kPa. The occurrence of viscous lipid secretions between microstructures was occasionally observed, which, however, seems not to be a necessity for good foothold. The results are discussed in relation to the whip spider's ecology and evolution. Structure-function relationships of the adhesive pads are compared to those of insects and vertebrates. PMID:26386460

  2. A double role of sperm in scorpions: the mating plug of Euscorpius italicus (Scorpiones: Euscorpiidae) consists of sperm.

    PubMed

    Althaus, Sarah; Jacob, Alain; Graber, Werner; Hofer, Deborah; Nentwig, Wolfgang; Kropf, Christian

    2010-04-01

    Mating plugs occluding the female gonopore after mating are a widespread phenomenon. In scorpions, two main types of mating plugs are found: sclerotized mating plugs being parts of the spermatophore that break off during mating, and gel-like mating plugs being gelatinous fluids that harden in the female genital tract. In this study, the gel-like mating plug of Euscorpius italicus was investigated with respect to its composition, fine structure, and changes over time. Sperm forms the major component of the mating plug, a phenomenon previously unknown in arachnids. Three parts of the mating plug can be distinguished. The part facing the outside of the female (outer part) contains sperm packages containing inactive spermatozoa. In this state, sperm is transferred. In the median part, the sperm packages get uncoiled to single spermatozoa. In the inner part, free sperm is embedded in a large amount of secretions. Fresh mating plugs are soft gelatinous, later they harden from outside toward inside. This process is completed after 3-5 days. Sperm from artificially triggered spermatophores could be activated by immersion in insect Ringer's solution indicating that the fluid condition in the females' genital tract or females' secretions causes sperm activation. Because of the male origin of the mating plug, it has likely evolved under sperm competition or sexual conflict. As females refused to remate irrespective of the presence or absence of a mating plug, females may have changed their mating behavior in the course of evolution from polyandry to monandry. PMID:20101728

  3. Ultrastructural characterization of the sex chromosomes during spermatogenesis of spiders having holocentric chromosomes and a long diffuse stage.

    PubMed

    Benavente, R; Wettstein, R

    1980-01-01

    An ultrastructural study has been made of spermatogenesis in two species of primitive spiders having holocentric chromosomes (Dysdera crocata, male X0 and Sergestria florentia X1X2O). Analysis of the meiotic prophase shows a scarcity or absence of typical leptotene to pachytene stages. Only in D. crocata have synaptonemal complex (SC) remnants been seen, and these occurred in nuclei with an extreme chromatin decondensation. In both species typical early prophase stages have been replaced by nuclei lacking SC and with their chromatin almost completely decondensed, constituting a long and well-defined diffuse stage. Only nucleoli and the condensed sex chromosomes can be identified. - In S. florentina paired non-homologous sex chromosomes lack a junction lamina and thus clearly differ from the sex chromosomes of more evolved spiders with an X1X20 male sex determination mechanism. In the same species, sex chromosomes can be recognized during metaphase I due to their special structural details, while in D. crocata the X chromosome is not distinguishable from the autosomes at this stage. - The diffuse stage and particularly the structural characteristics of the sex chromosomes during meiotic prophase are reviewed and discussed in relation to the meiotic process in other arachnid goups. PMID:7371451

  4. A sodium channel inhibitor ISTX-I with a novel structure provides a new hint at the evolutionary link between two toxin folds.

    PubMed

    Rong, Mingqiang; Liu, Jiangxin; Zhang, Meilin; Wang, Gan; Zhao, Gang; Wang, Guodong; Zhang, Yaping; Hu, Kaifeng; Lai, Ren

    2016-01-01

    Members of arachnida, such as spiders and scorpions, commonly produce venom with specialized venom glands, paralyzing their prey with neurotoxins that specifically target ion channels. Two well-studied motifs, the disulfide-directed hairpin (DDH) and the inhibitor cystine knot motif (ICK), are both found in scorpion and spider toxins. As arachnids, ticks inject a neurotoxin-containing cocktail from their salivary glands into the host to acquire a blood meal, but peptide toxins acting on ion channels have not been observed in ticks. Here, a new neurotoxin (ISTX-I) that acts on sodium channels was identified from the hard tick Ixodes scapularis and characterized. ISTX-I exhibits a potent inhibitory function with an IC50 of 1.6 μM for sodium channel Nav1.7 but not other sodium channel subtypes. ISTX-I adopts a novel structural fold and is distinct from the canonical ICK motif. Analysis of the ISTX-I, DDH and ICK motifs reveals that the new ISTX-I motif might be an intermediate scaffold between DDH and ICK, and ISTX-I is a clue to the evolutionary link between the DDH and ICK motifs. These results provide a glimpse into the convergent evolution of neurotoxins from predatory and blood-sucking arthropods. PMID:27407029

  5. Molecular characterization of DSC1 orthologs in invertebrate species.

    PubMed

    Cui, Ying-Jun; Yu, Lin-Lin; Xu, Hai-Jun; Dong, Ke; Zhang, Chuan-Xi

    2012-05-01

    DSC1 and BSC1 are two founding members of a novel family of invertebrate voltage-gated cation channels with close structural and evolutionary relationships to voltage-gated sodium and calcium channels. In this study, we searched the published genome sequences for DSC1 orthologs. DSC1 orthologs were found in all 48 insect species, and in other invertebrate species belonging to phyla Mollusca, Cnidaria, Hemichordata and Echinodermata. However, DSC1 orthologs were not found in four arachnid species, Ixodes scapularis, Rhipicephalus microplus, Tetranychus urticae and Varroa destructor, two species in Annelida or any vertebrate species. We then cloned and sequenced NlSC1 and BmSC1 full-length cDNAs from the brown planthopper (Nilaparvata lugens) and the silkworm (Bombyx mori), respectively. NlSC1 and BmSC1 share about 50% identity with DSC1, and the expression of NlSC1 and BmSC1 transcripts was most abundant in the head and antenna in adults. All DSC1 orthologs contain a unique and conserved DEEA motif, instead of the EEEE or EEDD motif in classical calcium channels or the DEKA motif in sodium channels. Phylogenetic analyses revealed that DSC1 and its orthologs form a separate group distinct from the classical voltage-gated sodium and calcium channels and constitute a unique family of cation channels. The DSC1/BSC1-family channels could be potential targets of new and safe insecticides for pest control. PMID:22321571

  6. The anatomy and ultrastructure of the suctorial organ of Solifugae (Arachnida).

    PubMed

    Klann, A E; Gromov, A V; Cushing, P E; Peretti, A V; Alberti, G

    2008-01-01

    Solifugae possess an evertable, adhesive pedipalpal organ (suctorial organ) at the tip of the distal tarsus of each pedipalp that is unique among arachnids. When inverted inside the pedipalp, the suctorial organ is covered with two cuticular lips, a dorsal upper lip and a ventral lower lip, but it can be protruded rapidly in order to facilitate grasping prey or climbing on bushes or even climbing on smooth surfaces due to its remarkable adhesive properties. In this study, the suctorial organs of different species from old world families Galeodidae and Karschiidae and new world families Ammotrechidae and Eremobatidae were investigated by means of light microscopy, scanning and transmission electron microscopy. In all representatives, the suctorial organ is formed by an evertable, cuticular pad with a complex internal stabilizing structure. The procuticle of this pad consists of a lattice-like basal plate and numerous stalked structures connected to this basal plate. The shafts of the stalked structures are regularly organized and ramify apically. The surface of the suctorial organ is constituted of a very thin epicuticle overlaying the ramifying apices forming ridges and furrows on the ventral side of the suctorial organ. PMID:18089124

  7. Opsin Repertoire and Expression Patterns in Horseshoe Crabs: Evidence from the Genome of Limulus polyphemus (Arthropoda: Chelicerata)

    PubMed Central

    Battelle, Barbara-Anne; Ryan, Joseph F.; Kempler, Karen E.; Saraf, Spencer R.; Marten, Catherine E.; Warren, Wesley C.; Minx, Patrick J.; Montague, Michael J.; Green, Pamela J.; Schmidt, Skye A.; Fulton, Lucinda; Patel, Nipam H.; Protas, Meredith E.; Wilson, Richard K.; Porter, Megan L.

    2016-01-01

    Horseshoe crabs are xiphosuran chelicerates, the sister group to arachnids. As such, they are important for understanding the most recent common ancestor of Euchelicerata and the evolution and diversification of Arthropoda. Limulus polyphemus is the most investigated of the four extant species of horseshoe crabs, and the structure and function of its visual system have long been a major focus of studies critical for understanding the evolution of visual systems in arthropods. Likewise, studies of genes encoding Limulus opsins, the protein component of the visual pigments, are critical for understanding opsin evolution and diversification among chelicerates, where knowledge of opsins is limited, and more broadly among arthropods. In the present study, we sequenced and assembled a high quality nuclear genomic sequence of L. polyphemus and used these data to annotate the full repertoire of Limulus opsins. We conducted a detailed phylogenetic analysis of Limulus opsins, including using gene structure and synteny information to identify relationships among different opsin classes. We used our phylogeny to identify significant genomic events that shaped opsin evolution and therefore the visual system of Limulus. We also describe the tissue expression patterns of the 18 opsins identified and show that transcripts encoding a number, including a peropsin, are present throughout the central nervous system. In addition to significantly extending our understanding of photosensitivity in Limulus and providing critical insight into the genomic evolution of horseshoe crab opsins, this work provides a valuable genomic resource for addressing myriad questions related to xiphosuran physiology and arthropod evolution. PMID:27189985

  8. Spider bite.

    PubMed

    Isbister, Geoffrey K; Fan, Hui Wen

    2011-12-10

    Spiders are a source of intrigue and fear, and several myths exist about their medical effects. Many people believe that bites from various spider species cause necrotic ulceration, despite evidence that most suspected cases of necrotic arachnidism are caused by something other than a spider bite. Latrodectism and loxoscelism are the most important clinical syndromes resulting from spider bite. Latrodectism results from bites by widow spiders (Latrodectus spp) and causes local, regional, or generalised pain associated with non-specific symptoms and autonomic effects. Loxoscelism is caused by Loxosceles spp, and the cutaneous form manifests as pain and erythema that can develop into a necrotic ulcer. Systemic loxoscelism is characterised by intravascular haemolysis and renal failure on occasion. Other important spiders include the Australian funnel-web spider (Atrax spp and Hadronyche spp) and the armed spider (Phoneutria spp) from Brazil. Antivenoms are an important treatment for spider envenomation but have been less successful than have those for snake envenomation, with concerns about their effectiveness for both latrodectism and loxoscelism. PMID:21762981

  9. Spider Transcriptomes Identify Ancient Large-Scale Gene Duplication Event Potentially Important in Silk Gland Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Clarke, Thomas H.; Garb, Jessica E.; Hayashi, Cheryl Y.; Arensburger, Peter; Ayoub, Nadia A.

    2015-01-01

    The evolution of specialized tissues with novel functions, such as the silk synthesizing glands in spiders, is likely an influential driver of adaptive success. Large-scale gene duplication events and subsequent paralog divergence are thought to be required for generating evolutionary novelty. Such an event has been proposed for spiders, but not tested. We de novo assembled transcriptomes from three cobweb weaving spider species. Based on phylogenetic analyses of gene families with representatives from each of the three species, we found numerous duplication events indicative of a whole genome or segmental duplication. We estimated the age of the gene duplications relative to several speciation events within spiders and arachnids and found that the duplications likely occurred after the divergence of scorpions (order Scorpionida) and spiders (order Araneae), but before the divergence of the spider suborders Mygalomorphae and Araneomorphae, near the evolutionary origin of spider silk glands. Transcripts that are expressed exclusively or primarily within black widow silk glands are more likely to have a paralog descended from the ancient duplication event and have elevated amino acid replacement rates compared with other transcripts. Thus, an ancient large-scale gene duplication event within the spider lineage was likely an important source of molecular novelty during the evolution of silk gland-specific expression. This duplication event may have provided genetic material for subsequent silk gland diversification in the true spiders (Araneomorphae). PMID:26058392

  10. Cambrian bivalved arthropod reveals origin of arthrodization.

    PubMed

    Legg, David A; Sutton, Mark D; Edgecombe, Gregory D; Caron, Jean-Bernard

    2012-12-01

    Extant arthropods are diverse and ubiquitous, forming a major constituent of most modern ecosystems. Evidence from early Palaeozoic Konservat Lagerstätten indicates that this has been the case since the Cambrian. Despite this, the details of arthropod origins remain obscure, although most hypotheses regard the first arthropods as benthic predators or scavengers such as the fuxianhuiids or megacheirans ('great-appendage' arthropods). Here, we describe a new arthropod from the Tulip Beds locality of the Burgess Shale Formation (Cambrian, series 3, stage 5) that possesses a weakly sclerotized thorax with filamentous appendages, encased in a bivalved carapace, and a strongly sclerotized, elongate abdomen and telson. A cladistic analysis resolved this taxon as the basal-most member of a paraphyletic grade of nekto-benthic forms with bivalved carapaces. This grade occurs at the base of Arthropoda (panarthropods with arthropodized trunk limbs) and suggests that arthrodization (sclerotization and jointing of the exoskeleton) evolved to facilitate swimming. Predatory and fully benthic habits evolved later in the euarthropod stem-lineage and are plesiomorphically retained in pycnogonids (sea spiders) and euchelicerates (horseshoe crabs and arachnids). PMID:23055069

  11. Innovative immunization protocols using chimeric recombinant protein for the production of polyspecific loxoscelic antivenom in horses.

    PubMed

    Figueiredo, Luís F M; Dias-Lopes, Camila; Alvarenga, Larissa M; Mendes, Thais M; Machado-de-Ávila, Ricardo A; McCormack, Jessica; Minozzo, João C; Kalapothakis, Evanguedes; Chávez-Olórtegui, Carlos

    2014-08-01

    A chimeric protein (rCpLi) was constructed expressing three epitopes of rLiD1, a dermonecrotic toxin from the venom of Loxosceles intermedia spider. We have analyzed the neutralization potential of sera obtained by immunization of horses with rCpLi and rCpLi combined with initial doses of venoms and compared these with antivenom traditionally produced in horses using crude Loxosceles gaucho, Loxosceles laeta and L. intermedia venoms as antigens. We have demonstrated by ELISA that horses immunized with three initial doses of crude venom containing mixtures of L. intermedia, L. gaucho and L. laeta followed by nine doses of rCpLi generate antibodies with the same reactivity as those produced following immunization with traditional antivenom, towards the venoms of the three Loxosceles sp. species. Results from in vivo and in vitro neutralization assays showed that the new horse sera are able to neutralize the dermonecrotic activity of Loxosceles venoms, which are of medical importance in Brazil and some of these sera are capable of meeting the necessary potency requirements that could allow for their therapeutic use in humans. This immunization strategy combining both antigens used approximately 67% less crude Loxosceles venoms compared to traditional immunization protocol and can mean the development of Loxosceles antivenoms with the consequent reduction of devastation of arachnid fauna. PMID:24878371

  12. An "ancient" complexity? Evolutionary morphology of the circulatory system in Xiphosura.

    PubMed

    Göpel, Torben; Wirkner, Christian S

    2015-08-01

    Horseshoe crabs (Xiphosura) have been an object of zoological research for almost 200 years. Although some morphological work on the circulatory system has been done, the three-dimensional structure of this complex organ system has never been shown satisfactorily and some crucial questions remain unanswered. Here, the circulatory systems of juveniles of the horseshoe crab taxa Limulus polyphemus and Carcinoscorpius rotundicauda were investigated using a combination of an injection method and micro-computed tomography. Data were processed and 3D-visualized using reconstruction software. Furthermore, the heart was examined using scanning electron microscopy. Additionally, the histology of some structures was investigated via light microscopy and transmission electron microscopy. The results show the high degree of complexity of the arterial and lacunar systems of Xiphosura and provide insights into their three-dimensional structure and relationship to other organ systems such as the central nervous system. We show that the major lacunae, previously described as vessel-like - though indeed highly ramified - can clearly be distinguished from arteries in histological sections because they have no distinct walls. Similarities and differences between the xiphosuran species and arachnids are highlighted and possible phylogenetic implications and evolutionary scenarios discussed. PMID:25964110

  13. Sanctacaris uncata: the oldest chelicerate (Arthropoda).

    PubMed

    Legg, David A

    2014-12-01

    The morphology of the arthropod Sanctacaris uncata, from the Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale of Canada, is reinterpreted based on a restudy of previously described material. Although originally considered a chelicerate-like arthropod, these affinities were dismissed based primarily on interpretations of the anterior appendages and hypotheses which considered the megacheirans ('great-appendage' arthropods) as putative ancestors of chelicerates. The similarities between megacheirans and chelicerates appear to be overstated however, and this study instead reaffirms the identity of putative chelicerate feature in S. uncata and similar arthropods such as Sidneyia and Emeraldella, both also from the Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale. Newly interpreted features, including the presence of pediform exites, multi-partite trunk exopods, and a trunk differentiated into an anterior limb-bearing area and a differentiated posterior limbless abdomen, were coded into an extensive phylogenetic data set of fossil and recent arthropods. In all analyses, Sanctacaris resolved as the basal-most member of total-group Euchelicerata (the least inclusive group including horseshoe crabs and arachnids but not pycnogonids), thus making it the oldest chelicerate in the fossil record. The vicissicaudates (including Sidneyia, Emeraldella, aglaspidids, and cheloniellids--all of which have previously been allied to chelicerates) resolved as sister-taxon to crown-group Chelicerata. This topology indicates that many purported chelicerate features, such as lamellar gills, and a differentiated posterior abdomen evolved sequentially in the chelicerate stem-lineage. PMID:25296691

  14. A sodium channel inhibitor ISTX-I with a novel structure provides a new hint at the evolutionary link between two toxin folds

    PubMed Central

    Rong, Mingqiang; Liu, Jiangxin; Zhang, Meilin; Wang, Gan; Zhao, Gang; Wang, Guodong; Zhang, Yaping; Hu, Kaifeng; Lai, Ren

    2016-01-01

    Members of arachnida, such as spiders and scorpions, commonly produce venom with specialized venom glands, paralyzing their prey with neurotoxins that specifically target ion channels. Two well-studied motifs, the disulfide-directed hairpin (DDH) and the inhibitor cystine knot motif (ICK), are both found in scorpion and spider toxins. As arachnids, ticks inject a neurotoxin-containing cocktail from their salivary glands into the host to acquire a blood meal, but peptide toxins acting on ion channels have not been observed in ticks. Here, a new neurotoxin (ISTX-I) that acts on sodium channels was identified from the hard tick Ixodes scapularis and characterized. ISTX-I exhibits a potent inhibitory function with an IC50 of 1.6 μM for sodium channel Nav1.7 but not other sodium channel subtypes. ISTX-I adopts a novel structural fold and is distinct from the canonical ICK motif. Analysis of the ISTX-I, DDH and ICK motifs reveals that the new ISTX-I motif might be an intermediate scaffold between DDH and ICK, and ISTX-I is a clue to the evolutionary link between the DDH and ICK motifs. These results provide a glimpse into the convergent evolution of neurotoxins from predatory and blood-sucking arthropods. PMID:27407029

  15. Interactions Between the Chilean Recluse Spider (Araneae: Sicariidae) and an Araneophagic Spitting Spider (Araneae: Scytodidae).

    PubMed

    Canals, Mauricio; Arriagada, Nicolás; Solís, Rigoberto

    2015-03-01

    In Chile, all necrotic arachnidism is attributed to the Chilean recluse spider, Loxosceles laeta Nicolet, a species that shares the microenvironmental habitats with the spitting spider Scytodes globula Nicolet. The latter species has been proposed as a potential predator of L. laeta. For this research, we studied the interaction between both species during individual encounters to assess the possibility of population regulation of L. laeta cohorts exposed to this potential predator. We found that in most encounters S. globula prevailed. Also, S. globula preys on spiderlings of L. laeta, with a population effect on cohorts of this species. These findings suggest that S. globula may be influencing L. laeta populations in central Chile. The population regulation of L. laeta by predation would be important because this species, in the absence of predators, has a high reproductive rate, and it can maintain populations of large size. However according to our results, although S. globula may aid in the reduction of both spiderling and adult L. laeta populations, and perhaps other Loxosceles species, it is insufficient for biological control of Loxosceles species. Its presence together with other control measures such as hygiene of the rooms can help to decrease loxoscelism incidence. PMID:26336293

  16. Cambrian bivalved arthropod reveals origin of arthrodization

    PubMed Central

    Legg, David A.; Sutton, Mark D.; Edgecombe, Gregory D.; Caron, Jean-Bernard

    2012-01-01

    Extant arthropods are diverse and ubiquitous, forming a major constituent of most modern ecosystems. Evidence from early Palaeozoic Konservat Lagerstätten indicates that this has been the case since the Cambrian. Despite this, the details of arthropod origins remain obscure, although most hypotheses regard the first arthropods as benthic predators or scavengers such as the fuxianhuiids or megacheirans (‘great-appendage’ arthropods). Here, we describe a new arthropod from the Tulip Beds locality of the Burgess Shale Formation (Cambrian, series 3, stage 5) that possesses a weakly sclerotized thorax with filamentous appendages, encased in a bivalved carapace, and a strongly sclerotized, elongate abdomen and telson. A cladistic analysis resolved this taxon as the basal-most member of a paraphyletic grade of nekto-benthic forms with bivalved carapaces. This grade occurs at the base of Arthropoda (panarthropods with arthropodized trunk limbs) and suggests that arthrodization (sclerotization and jointing of the exoskeleton) evolved to facilitate swimming. Predatory and fully benthic habits evolved later in the euarthropod stem-lineage and are plesiomorphically retained in pycnogonids (sea spiders) and euchelicerates (horseshoe crabs and arachnids). PMID:23055069

  17. Amblypygids: Model Organisms for the Study of Arthropod Navigation Mechanisms in Complex Environments?

    PubMed Central

    Wiegmann, Daniel D.; Hebets, Eileen A.; Gronenberg, Wulfila; Graving, Jacob M.; Bingman, Verner P.

    2016-01-01

    Navigation is an ideal behavioral model for the study of sensory system integration and the neural substrates associated with complex behavior. For this broader purpose, however, it may be profitable to develop new model systems that are both tractable and sufficiently complex to ensure that information derived from a single sensory modality and path integration are inadequate to locate a goal. Here, we discuss some recent discoveries related to navigation by amblypygids, nocturnal arachnids that inhabit the tropics and sub-tropics. Nocturnal displacement experiments under the cover of a tropical rainforest reveal that these animals possess navigational abilities that are reminiscent, albeit on a smaller spatial scale, of true-navigating vertebrates. Specialized legs, called antenniform legs, which possess hundreds of olfactory and tactile sensory hairs, and vision appear to be involved. These animals also have enormous mushroom bodies, higher-order brain regions that, in insects, integrate contextual cues and may be involved in spatial memory. In amblypygids, the complexity of a nocturnal rainforest may impose navigational challenges that favor the integration of information derived from multimodal cues. Moreover, the movement of these animals is easily studied in the laboratory and putative neural integration sites of sensory information can be manipulated. Thus, amblypygids could serve as model organisms for the discovery of neural substrates associated with a unique and potentially sophisticated navigational capability. The diversity of habitats in which amblypygids are found also offers an opportunity for comparative studies of sensory integration and ecological selection pressures on navigation mechanisms. PMID:27014008

  18. Fish and shellfish allergy in children: review of a persistent food allergy.

    PubMed

    Tsabouri, Sophia; Triga, Maria; Makris, Michael; Kalogeromitros, Dimitris; Church, Martin K; Priftis, Kostas N

    2012-11-01

    The increased consumption of fish and shellfish has resulted in more frequent reports of adverse reactions to seafood, emphasizing the need for more specific diagnosis and treatment of this condition and exploring reasons for the persistence of this allergy. This review discusses interesting and new findings in the area of fish and shellfish allergy. New allergens and important potential cross-reacting allergens have been identified within the fish family and between shellfish, arachnids, and insects. The diagnostic approach may require prick to-prick tests using crude extracts of both raw and cooked forms of seafood for screening seafood sensitization before a food challenge or where food challenge is not feasible. Allergen-specific immunotherapy can be important; mutated less allergenic seafood proteins have been developed for this purpose. The persistence of allergy because of seafood proteins' resistance after rigorous treatment like cooking and extreme pH is well documented. Additionally, IgE antibodies from individuals with persistent allergy may be directed against different epitopes than those in patients with transient allergy. For a topic as important as this one, new areas of technological developments will likely have a significant impact, to provide more accurate methods of diagnosing useful information to patients about the likely course of their seafood allergy over the course of their childhood and beyond. PMID:22554093

  19. Arthropod bites.

    PubMed

    Juckett, Gregory

    2013-12-15

    The phylum Arthropoda includes arachnids and insects. Although their bites typically cause only local reactions, some species are venomous or transmit disease. The two medically important spiders in the United States are widow spiders (Latrodectus), the bite of which causes intense muscle spasms, and the brown recluse (Loxosceles), which may cause skin necrosis. Widow bites usually respond to narcotics, benzodiazepines, or, when necessary, antivenom. Most recluse bites resolve uneventfully without aggressive therapy and require only wound care and minor debridement. Tick bites can transmit diseases only after prolonged attachment to the host. Treatment of clothing with permethrin and proper tick removal greatly reduce the risk of infection. Ticks of medical importance in the United States include the black-legged tick, the Lone Star tick, and the American dog tick. The prophylactic use of a single dose of doxycycline for Lyme disease may be justified in high-risk areas of the country when an attached, engorged black-legged tick is removed. Bites from fleas, bedbugs, biting flies, and mosquitoes present as nonspecific pruritic pink papules, but the history and location of the bite can assist with diagnosis. Flea bites are usually on ankles, whereas mosquito bites are on exposed skin, and chigger bites tend to be along the sock and belt lines. Antihistamines are usually the only treatment required for insect bites; however, severe mosquito reactions (skeeter syndrome) may require prednisone. Applying insect repellent containing diethyltoluamide (DEET) 10% to 35% or picaridin 20% is the best method for preventing bites. PMID:24364549

  20. A new Ordovician arthropod from the Winneshiek Lagerstätte of Iowa (USA) reveals the ground plan of eurypterids and chasmataspidids

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lamsdell, James C.; Briggs, Derek E. G.; Liu, Huaibao P.; Witzke, Brian J.; McKay, Robert M.

    2015-10-01

    Euchelicerates were a major component of Palaeozoic faunas, but their basal relationships are uncertain: it has been suggested that Xiphosura—xiphosurids (horseshoe crabs) and similar Palaeozoic forms, the synziphosurines—may not represent a natural group. Basal euchelicerates are rare in the fossil record, however, particularly during the initial Ordovician radiation of the group. Here, we describe Winneshiekia youngae gen. et sp. nov., a euchelicerate from the Middle Ordovician (Darriwilian) Winneshiek Lagerstätte of Iowa, USA. Winneshiekia shares features with both xiphosurans (a large, semicircular carapace and ophthalmic ridges) and dekatriatan euchelicerates such as chasmataspidids and eurypterids (an opisthosoma of 13 tergites). Phylogenetic analysis resolves Winneshiekia at the base of Dekatriata, as sister taxon to a clade comprising chasmataspidids, eurypterids, arachnids, and Houia. Winneshiekia provides further support for the polyphyly of synziphosurines, traditionally considered the stem lineage to xiphosurid horseshoe crabs, and by extension the paraphyly of Xiphosura. The new taxon reveals the ground pattern of Dekatriata and provides evidence of character polarity in chasmataspidids and eurypterids. The Winneshiek Lagerstätte thus represents an important palaeontological window into early chelicerate evolution.

  1. Characterization of a Gene Coding for the Complement System Component FB from Loxosceles laeta Spider Venom Glands.

    PubMed

    Myamoto, Daniela Tiemi; Pidde-Queiroz, Giselle; Gonçalves-de-Andrade, Rute Maria; Pedroso, Aurélio; van den Berg, Carmen W; Tambourgi, Denise V

    2016-01-01

    The human complement system is composed of more than 30 proteins and many of these have conserved domains that allow tracing the phylogenetic evolution. The complement system seems to be initiated with the appearance of C3 and factor B (FB), the only components found in some protostomes and cnidarians, suggesting that the alternative pathway is the most ancient. Here, we present the characterization of an arachnid homologue of the human complement component FB from the spider Loxosceles laeta. This homologue, named Lox-FB, was identified from a total RNA L. laeta spider venom gland library and was amplified using RACE-PCR techniques and specific primers. Analysis of the deduced amino acid sequence and the domain structure showed significant similarity to the vertebrate and invertebrate FB/C2 family proteins. Lox-FB has a classical domain organization composed of a control complement protein domain (CCP), a von Willebrand Factor domain (vWFA), and a serine protease domain (SP). The amino acids involved in Mg2+ metal ion dependent adhesion site (MIDAS) found in the vWFA domain in the vertebrate C2/FB proteins are well conserved; however, the classic catalytic triad present in the serine protease domain is not conserved in Lox-FB. Similarity and phylogenetic analyses indicated that Lox-FB shares a major identity (43%) and has a close evolutionary relationship with the third isoform of FB-like protein (FB-3) from the jumping spider Hasarius adansoni belonging to the Family Salcitidae. PMID:26771533

  2. Ultrastructural characterization and multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA) of 'Candidatus Rickettsiella isopodorum', a new lineage of intracellular bacteria infecting woodlice (Crustacea: Isopoda).

    PubMed

    Kleespies, Regina G; Federici, Brian A; Leclerque, Andreas

    2014-07-01

    The taxonomic genus Rickettsiella (Gammaproteobacteria; Legionellales) comprises intracellular bacteria associated with a wide range of arthropods including insects, arachnids and crustaceans. The present study provides ultrastructural together with genetic evidence for a Rickettsiella bacterium in the common rough woodlouse, Porcellio scaber (Isopoda, Porcellionidae), occurring in Germany, and shows that this bacterium is very closely related to one of the same genus occurring in California that infects the pill bug, Armadillidium vulgare (Isopoda, Armadillidiidae). Both bacterial isolates displayed the ultrastructural features described previously for crustacean-associated bacteria of the genus Rickettsiella, including the absence of well-defined associated protein crystals; occurrence of the latter is a typical characteristic of infection by this type of bacteria in insects, but has not been reported in crustaceans. A molecular systematic approach combining multilocus sequence analysis (MLSA) with likelihood-based significance testing demonstrated that despite their distant geographic origins, both bacteria form a tight sub-clade within the genus Rickettsiella. In the 16S rRNA gene trees, this sub-clade includes other bacterial sequences from woodlice. Moreover, the bacterial specimens from P. scaber and A. vulgare are found genetically or morphologically different from each of the four currently recognized Rickettsiella species. Therefore, the designation 'Candidatus Rickettsiella isopodorum' is introduced for this new lineage of isopod-associated Rickettsiella bacteria. PMID:24880712

  3. Adaptations and Predispositions of Different Middle European Arthropod Taxa (Collembola, Araneae, Chilopoda, Diplopoda) to Flooding and Drought Conditions

    PubMed Central

    Marx, Michael Thomas; Guhmann, Patrick; Decker, Peter

    2012-01-01

    Simple Summary This review summarizes adaptations and predispositions of different arthropod taxa (springtails, web spiders, millipedes and centipedes) to flood and drought conditions. The main focus sis directed to arthropod species, which are living in Middle European floodplain forests and wetlands, because of the fast change of flood and drought conditions in these habitats. Furthermore the effects of the predicted regional climate change like increasing aperiodic summer flooding and decreasing winter and spring floods are also discussed. Abstract Floodplain forests and wetlands are amongst the most diverse and species rich habitats on earth. Arthropods are a key group for the high diversity pattern of these landscapes, due to the fact that the change between flooding and drought causes in different life cycles and in a variety of adaptations in the different taxa. The floodplain forests and wetlands of Central Amazonia are well investigated and over the last 50 years many adaptations of several hexapod, myriapod and arachnid orders were described. In contrast to Amazonia the Middle European floodplains were less investigated concerning the adaptations of arthropods to flood and drought conditions. This review summarizes the adaptations and predispositions of springtails, web spiders, millipedes and centipedes to the changeable flood and drought conditions of Middle European floodplain forests and wetlands. Furthermore the impact of regional climate change predictions like increasing aperiodic summer floods and the decrease of typical winter and spring floods are discussed in this article. PMID:26487164

  4. Extant primitively segmented spiders have recently diversified from an ancient lineage.

    PubMed

    Xu, Xin; Liu, Fengxiang; Cheng, Ren-Chung; Chen, Jian; Xu, Xiang; Zhang, Zhisheng; Ono, Hirotsugu; Pham, Dinh Sac; Norma-Rashid, Y; Arnedo, Miquel A; Kuntner, Matjaž; Li, Daiqin

    2015-06-01

    Living fossils are lineages that have retained plesiomorphic traits through long time periods. It is expected that such lineages have both originated and diversified long ago. Such expectations have recently been challenged in some textbook examples of living fossils, notably in extant cycads and coelacanths. Using a phylogenetic approach, we tested the patterns of the origin and diversification of liphistiid spiders, a clade of spiders considered to be living fossils due to their retention of arachnid plesiomorphies and their exclusive grouping in Mesothelae, an ancient clade sister to all modern spiders. Facilitated by original sampling throughout their Asian range, we here provide the phylogenetic framework necessary for reconstructing liphistiid biogeographic history. All phylogenetic analyses support the monophyly of Liphistiidae and of eight genera. As the fossil evidence supports a Carboniferous Euramerican origin of Mesothelae, our dating analyses postulate a long eastward over-land dispersal towards the Asian origin of Liphistiidae during the Palaeogene (39-58 Ma). Contrary to expectations, diversification within extant liphistiid genera is relatively recent, in the Neogene and Late Palaeogene (4-24 Ma). While no over-water dispersal events are needed to explain their evolutionary history, the history of liphistiid spiders has the potential to play prominently in vicariant biogeographic studies. PMID:25948684

  5. A Paleozoic stem group to mite harvestmen revealed through integration of phylogenetics and development.

    PubMed

    Garwood, Russell J; Sharma, Prashant P; Dunlop, Jason A; Giribet, Gonzalo

    2014-05-01

    Successfully placing fossils in phylogenies is integral to understanding the tree of life. Crown-group Paleozoic members of the arachnid order Opiliones are indicative of ancient origins and one of the earliest arthropod terrestrialization events [1, 2]. Opiliones epitomize morphological stasis, and all known fossils have been placed within the four extant suborders [3-5]. Here we report a Carboniferous harvestman species, Hastocularis argusgen. nov., sp. nov., reconstructed with microtomography (microCT). Phylogenetic analysis recovers this species, and the Devonian Eophalangium sheari, as members of an extinct harvestman clade. We establish the suborder Tetrophthalmi subordo nov., which bore four eyes, to accommodate H. argus and E. sheari, the latter previously considered to be a phalangid [6-9]. Furthermore, embryonic gene expression in the extant species Phalangium opilio demonstrates vestiges of lateral eye tubercles. These lateral eyes are lost in all crown-group Phalangida, but are observed in both our fossil and outgroup chelicerate orders. These data independently corroborate the diagnosis of two eye pairs in the fossil and demonstrate retention of eyes of separate evolutionary origins in modern harvestmen [10-12]. The discovery of Tetrophthalmi alters molecular divergence time estimates, supporting Carboniferous rather than Devonian diversification for extant suborders and directly impacting inferences of terrestrialization history and biogeography. Multidisciplinary approaches integrating fossil and neontological data increase confidence in phylogenies and elucidate evolutionary history. PMID:24726154

  6. Species-specific diversity of novel bacterial lineages and differential abundance of predicted pathways for toxic compound degradation in scorpion gut microbiota.

    PubMed

    Bolaños, Luis M; Rosenblueth, Mónica; Castillo-Ramírez, Santiago; Figuier-Huttin, Gilles; Martínez-Romero, Esperanza

    2016-05-01

    Scorpions are considered 'living fossils' that have conserved ancestral anatomical features and have adapted to numerous habitats. However, their gut microbiota diversity has not been studied. Here, we characterized the gut microbiota of two scorpion species, Vaejovis smithi and Centruroides limpidus. Our results indicate that scorpion gut microbiota is species-specific and that food deprivation reduces bacterial diversity. 16S rRNA gene phylogenetic analysis revealed novel bacterial lineages showing a low level of sequence identity to any known bacteria. Furthermore, these novel bacterial lineages were each restricted to a different scorpion species. Additionally, our results of the predicted metagenomic profiles revealed a core set of pathways that were highly abundant in both species, and mostly related to amino acid, carbohydrate, vitamin and cofactor metabolism. Notably, the food-deprived V. smithi shotgun metagenome matched almost completely the metabolic features of the prediction. Finally, comparisons among predicted metagenomic profiles showed that toxic compound degradation pathways were more abundant in recently captured C. limpidus scorpions. This study gives a first insight into the scorpion gut microbiota and provides a reference for future studies on the gut microbiota from other arachnid species. PMID:26058415

  7. A classed and annotated bibliography of fossil insects

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Scudder, Samuel Hubbard

    1890-01-01

    The present work is an extension to date of a bibliography published in 1882.  It has, however, been altered in a few details, and, besides being fuller, differs from that in being a classed list, the works and essays which cover the entire field (which embraces not only insects proper, but also myriapods and arachnids) being placed first, followed by the more special memoirs grouped first by times, next by classes orders, etc., the classification employed in my Systematic Review of Fossil Insects, being used as a convenient basis.  This will also form the basis of the Index to Known Fossil Insects, forming a later complementary bulletin.  The occasion for the publication of both of these at this time is the completion of the first extended account of the American Tertiary insects given in Vol XIII of the Hayden series of geological reports, by which the numbers of the European and American insects bear for the first time some sort of proper relation to each other, at least in the lower groups.  This makes an immediate "account of stock," to employ a commercial term, desirable.

  8. Repeated Evolution of Power-Amplified Predatory Strikes in Trap-Jaw Spiders.

    PubMed

    Wood, Hannah M; Parkinson, Dilworth Y; Griswold, Charles E; Gillespie, Rosemary G; Elias, Damian O

    2016-04-25

    Small animals possess intriguing morphological and behavioral traits that allow them to capture prey, including innovative structural mechanisms that produce ballistic movements by amplifying power [1-6]. Power amplification occurs when an organism produces a relatively high power output by releasing slowly stored energy almost instantaneously, resulting in movements that surpass the maximal power output of muscles [7]. For example, trap-jaw, power-amplified mechanisms have been described for several ant genera [5, 8], which have evolved some of the fastest known movements in the animal kingdom [6]. However, power-amplified predatory strikes were not previously known in one of the largest animal classes, the arachnids. Mecysmaucheniidae spiders, which occur only in New Zealand and southern South America, are tiny, cryptic, ground-dwelling spiders that rely on hunting rather than web-building to capture prey [9]. Analysis of high-speed video revealed that power-amplified mechanisms occur in some mecysmaucheniid species, with the fastest species being two orders of magnitude faster than the slowest species. Molecular phylogenetic analysis revealed that power-amplified cheliceral strikes have evolved four times independently within the family. Furthermore, we identified morphological innovations that directly relate to cheliceral function: a highly modified carapace in which the cheliceral muscles are oriented horizontally; modification of a cheliceral sclerite to have muscle attachments; and, in the power-amplified species, a thicker clypeus and clypeal apodemes. These structural innovations may have set the stage for the parallel evolution of ballistic predatory strikes. PMID:27068421

  9. A new Ordovician arthropod from the Winneshiek Lagerstätte of Iowa (USA) reveals the ground plan of eurypterids and chasmataspidids.

    PubMed

    Lamsdell, James C; Briggs, Derek E G; Liu, Huaibao P; Witzke, Brian J; McKay, Robert M

    2015-10-01

    Euchelicerates were a major component of Palaeozoic faunas, but their basal relationships are uncertain: it has been suggested that Xiphosura-xiphosurids (horseshoe crabs) and similar Palaeozoic forms, the synziphosurines-may not represent a natural group. Basal euchelicerates are rare in the fossil record, however, particularly during the initial Ordovician radiation of the group. Here, we describe Winneshiekia youngae gen. et sp. nov., a euchelicerate from the Middle Ordovician (Darriwilian) Winneshiek Lagerstätte of Iowa, USA. Winneshiekia shares features with both xiphosurans (a large, semicircular carapace and ophthalmic ridges) and dekatriatan euchelicerates such as chasmataspidids and eurypterids (an opisthosoma of 13 tergites). Phylogenetic analysis resolves Winneshiekia at the base of Dekatriata, as sister taxon to a clade comprising chasmataspidids, eurypterids, arachnids, and Houia. Winneshiekia provides further support for the polyphyly of synziphosurines, traditionally considered the stem lineage to xiphosurid horseshoe crabs, and by extension the paraphyly of Xiphosura. The new taxon reveals the ground pattern of Dekatriata and provides evidence of character polarity in chasmataspidids and eurypterids. The Winneshiek Lagerstätte thus represents an important palaeontological window into early chelicerate evolution. PMID:26391849

  10. Ecological importance of sedges: a survey of the Australasian Cyperaceae genus Lepidosperma

    PubMed Central

    Barrett, Russell L.

    2013-01-01

    Background Sedges (Cyperaceae) form an important ecological component of many ecosystems around the world. Sword and rapier sedges (genus Lepidosperma) are common and widespread components of the southern Australian and New Zealand floras, also occurring in New Caledonia, West Papua, Borneo, Malaysia and southern China. Sedge ecology is seldom studied and no comprehensive review of sedge ecology exists. Lepidosperma is unusual in the Cyperaceae with the majority of species occurring in dryland habitats. Scope Extensive review of ecological literature and field observations shows Lepidosperma species to be important components of many ecosystems, often dominating understorey and sedge-rich communities. For the first time, a detailed ecological review of a Cyperaceae genus is presented. Conclusions Lepidosperma species are long-lived perennials with significant abundance and persistence in the landscape. Speciation patterns in the genus are of considerable interest due to complex biogeographical patterns and a high degree of habitat specificity. Potential benefits exist for medicinal products identified from several Lepidosperma species. Over 178 organisms, including 26 mammals, 42 birds, six reptiles, five amphibians, eight arachnids, 75 insects, three crustaceans and 13 fungi, are found to be dependent on, or making use of, Lepidosperma species. A significant relationship exists between Lepidosperma species and the moth genus Elachista. Implications for the conservation and ecology of both sedges and associated species are discussed. PMID:23378523

  11. Babes in the wood – a unique window into sea scorpion ontogeny

    PubMed Central

    2013-01-01

    Background Few studies on eurypterids have taken into account morphological changes that occur throughout postembryonic development. Here two species of eurypterid are described from the Pragian Beartooth Butte Formation of Cottonwood Canyon in Wyoming and included in a phylogenetic analysis. Both species comprise individuals from a number of instars, and this allows for changes that occur throughout their ontogeny to be documented, and how ontogenetically variable characters can influence phylogenetic analysis to be tested. Results The two species of eurypterid are described as Jaekelopterus howelli (Kjellesvig-Waering and Størmer, 1952) and Strobilopterus proteus sp. nov. Phylogenetic analysis places them within the Pterygotidae and Strobilopteridae respectively, both families within the Eurypterina. Jaekelopterus howelli shows positive allometry of the cheliceral denticles throughout ontogeny, while a number of characteristics including prosomal appendage length, carapace shape, lateral eye position, and relative breadth all vary during the growth of Strobilopterus proteus. Conclusions The ontogeny of Strobilopterus proteus shares much in common with that of modern xiphosurans, however certain characteristics including apparent true direct development suggest a closer affinity to arachnids. The ontogenetic development of the genital appendage also supports the hypothesis that the structure is homologous to the endopods of the trunk limbs of other arthropods. Including earlier instars in the phylogenetic analysis is shown to destabilise the retrieved topology. Therefore, coding juveniles as individual taxa in an analysis is shown to be actively detrimental and alternative ways of coding ontogenetic data into phylogenetic analyses should be explored. PMID:23663507

  12. Reevaluating the arthropod tree of life.

    PubMed

    Giribet, Gonzalo; Edgecombe, Gregory D

    2012-01-01

    Arthropods are the most diverse group of animals and have been so since the Cambrian radiation. They belong to the protostome clade Ecdysozoa, with Onychophora (velvet worms) as their most likely sister group and tardigrades (water bears) the next closest relative. The arthropod tree of life can be interpreted as a five-taxon network, containing Pycnogonida, Euchelicerata, Myriapoda, Crustacea, and Hexapoda, the last two forming the clade Tetraconata or Pancrustacea. The unrooted relationship of Tetraconata to the three other lineages is well established, but of three possible rooting positions the Mandibulata hypothesis receives the most support. Novel approaches to studying anatomy with noninvasive three-dimensional reconstruction techniques, the application of these techniques to new and old fossils, and the so-called next-generation sequencing techniques are at the forefront of understanding arthropod relationships. Cambrian fossils assigned to the arthropod stem group inform on the origin of arthropod characters from a lobopodian ancestry. Monophyly of Pycnogonida, Euchelicerata, Myriapoda, Tetraconata, and Hexapoda is well supported, but the interrelationships of arachnid orders and the details of crustacean paraphyly with respect to Hexapoda remain the major unsolved phylogenetic problems. PMID:21910637

  13. Hox gene duplications correlate with posterior heteronomy in scorpions

    PubMed Central

    Sharma, Prashant P.; Schwager, Evelyn E.; Extavour, Cassandra G.; Wheeler, Ward C.

    2014-01-01

    The evolutionary success of the largest animal phylum, Arthropoda, has been attributed to tagmatization, the coordinated evolution of adjacent metameres to form morphologically and functionally distinct segmental regions called tagmata. Specification of regional identity is regulated by the Hox genes, of which 10 are inferred to be present in the ancestor of arthropods. With six different posterior segmental identities divided into two tagmata, the bauplan of scorpions is the most heteronomous within Chelicerata. Expression domains of the anterior eight Hox genes are conserved in previously surveyed chelicerates, but it is unknown how Hox genes regionalize the three tagmata of scorpions. Here, we show that the scorpion Centruroides sculpturatus has two paralogues of all Hox genes except Hox3, suggesting cluster and/or whole genome duplication in this arachnid order. Embryonic anterior expression domain boundaries of each of the last four pairs of Hox genes (two paralogues each of Antp, Ubx, abd-A and Abd-B) are unique and distinguish segmental groups, such as pectines, book lungs and the characteristic tail, while maintaining spatial collinearity. These distinct expression domains suggest neofunctionalization of Hox gene paralogues subsequent to duplication. Our data reconcile previous understanding of Hox gene function across arthropods with the extreme heteronomy of scorpions. PMID:25122224

  14. Identification and Characterization of a Novel Family of Cysteine-Rich Peptides (MgCRP-I) from Mytilus galloprovincialis

    PubMed Central

    Gerdol, Marco; Puillandre, Nicolas; Moro, Gianluca De; Guarnaccia, Corrado; Lucafò, Marianna; Benincasa, Monica; Zlatev, Ventislav; Manfrin, Chiara; Torboli, Valentina; Giulianini, Piero Giulio; Sava, Gianni; Venier, Paola; Pallavicini, Alberto

    2015-01-01

    We report the identification of a novel gene family (named MgCRP-I) encoding short secreted cysteine-rich peptides in the Mediterranean mussel Mytilus galloprovincialis. These peptides display a highly conserved pre-pro region and a hypervariable mature peptide comprising six invariant cysteine residues arranged in three intramolecular disulfide bridges. Although their cysteine pattern is similar to cysteines-rich neurotoxic peptides of distantly related protostomes such as cone snails and arachnids, the different organization of the disulfide bridges observed in synthetic peptides and phylogenetic analyses revealed MgCRP-I as a novel protein family. Genome- and transcriptome-wide searches for orthologous sequences in other bivalve species indicated the unique presence of this gene family in Mytilus spp. Like many antimicrobial peptides and neurotoxins, MgCRP-I peptides are produced as pre-propeptides, usually have a net positive charge and likely derive from similar evolutionary mechanisms, that is, gene duplication and positive selection within the mature peptide region; however, synthetic MgCRP-I peptides did not display significant toxicity in cultured mammalian cells, insecticidal, antimicrobial, or antifungal activities. The functional role of MgCRP-I peptides in mussel physiology still remains puzzling. PMID:26201648

  15. [Effect of modafinil on electroretinograms of Lycosa tarentula in relation visual circadian rhythm (Araneae, Lycosidae)].

    PubMed

    Carricaburu, P; Muñoz-Cuevas, A

    1998-01-01

    Injections of modafinil, a drug able to induce in vertebrates an awakening effect via an effective central alpha 1-adrenergic tone, induce modifications of the amplitude and latency of electroretinograms (ERGs) in the spider Lycosa tarentula, during dark adaptation. Results of experiments are different from one eye type to another as circadian activity rhythms of the retinae also differ. Modafinil induces a decrease of diurnal amplitudes and has no effect on nocturnal amplitudes of ERGs of anterior-lateral eyes; in the case of posterior-median eyes, the amplitudes are increased in daytime as well as at night. Prazosin, antagonist of alpha 1-adrenergic receptors, injected after modafinil, induces a decrease of the amplitudes of ERGs in the same eyes. These results are discussed in relation to the visual activity of this species, both diurnal and nocturnal. The concepts of waking state versus sleep are not precisely characterized in arachnids, so that the effects of modafinil on L. tarentula may not be considered like those described in vertebrates. PMID:10101611

  16. Microspectrophotometry of arthropod visual screening pigments.

    PubMed

    Strother, G K; Casella, A J

    1972-05-01

    Absorption spectra of visual screening pigments obtained in vitro with a microspectrophotometer using frozen sections are given for the insects Musca domestica, Phormia regina, Libellula luctuosa, Apis mellifera (worker honeybee only), Drosophila melanogaster (wild type only) and the arachnids Lycosa baltimoriana and Lycosa miami. The spectral range covered is 260-700 nm for Lycosa and Drosophila and 310-700 nm for the remainder of the arthropods. A complete description of the instrumentation is given. For the flies, Phormia and Musca, light absorption by the yellow and red pigments is high from 310 to about 610 nm. This implies that for these insects there should be no wavelength shift in electroretinogram (ERG) results due to light leakage among neighboring ommatidia for this wavelength range. The same comment applies to Calliphora erythrocephala, which is known to have similar screening pigments. For some of the insects studied a close correspondence is noted between screening pigment absorption spectra and spectral sensitivity curves for individual photoreceptors, available in the literature. In some cases the screening pigment absorption spectra can be related to chemical extraction results, with the general observation that some of the in vitro absorption peaks are shifted to the red. The Lycosa, Apis, and Libellula dark red pigments absorb strongly over a wide spectral range and therefore prevent chemical identification. PMID:4623852

  17. Database screening and in vivo efficacy of antimicrobial peptides against meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus USA300

    PubMed Central

    Menousek, Joseph; Mishra, Biswajit; Hanke, Mark L.; Heim, Cortney E.; Kielian, Tammy; Wang, Guangshun

    2012-01-01

    Natural antimicrobial peptides (AMPs) are promising candidates for developing a generation of new antimicrobials to meet the challenge of antibiotic-resistant pathogens such as meticillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). To facilitate the search for new candidates, we have utilised the Antimicrobial Peptide Database (APD), which contains natural AMPs from bacteria, fungi, plants and animals. This study demonstrates the identification of novel templates against MRSA by screening 30 peptides selected from the APD. These peptides are short (<25 residues), cysteine-free, cationic and represent candidates from different biological sources such as bacteria, insects, arachnids, tunicates, amphibians, fish and mammals. Six peptides, including ascaphin-8, database-screened antimicrobial peptide 1 (DASamP1), DASamP2, lycotoxin I, maculatin 1.3 and piscidin 1, were found to exert potent antimicrobial activity against an MRSA USA300 isolate. Although five of the six peptides showed broad-spectrum antibacterial activity, DASamP1 displayed killing of MRSA in vitro but not of Escherichia coli, Bacillus subtilis or Pseudomonas aeruginosa. In addition, DASamP1 suppressed early biofilm formation in a mouse model of catheter-associated MRSA infection. DASamP1 is a novel, short and potent peptide that will be a useful starting template for further developing novel anti-MRSA peptides. PMID:22445495

  18. The other prey-capture silk: Fibres made by glow-worms (Diptera: Keroplatidae) comprise cross-β-sheet crystallites in an abundant amorphous fraction.

    PubMed

    Walker, Andrew A; Weisman, Sarah; Trueman, Holly E; Merritt, David J; Sutherland, Tara D

    2015-09-01

    Glow-worms (larvae of dipteran genus Arachnocampa) are restricted to moist habitats where they capture flying prey using snares composed of highly extensible silk fibres and sticky mucus droplets. Little is known about the composition or structure of glow-worm snares, or the extent of possible convergence between glow-worm and arachnid capture silks. We characterised Arachnocampa richardsae silk and mucus using X-ray scattering, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and amino acid analysis. Silk but not mucus contained crystallites of the cross-β-sheet type, which occur in unrelated insect silks but have not been reported previously in fibres used for prey capture. Mucus proteins were rich in Gly (28.5%) and existed in predominantly a random coil structure, typical of many adhesive proteins. In contrast, the silk fibres were unusually rich in charged and polar residues, particularly Lys (18.1%), which we propose is related to their use in a highly hydrated state. Comparison of X-ray scattering, infrared spectroscopy and amino acid analysis data suggests that silk fibres contain a high fraction of disordered protein. We suggest that in the native hydrated state, silk fibres are capable of extension via deformation of both disordered regions and cross-β-sheet crystallites, and that high extensibility is an adaptation promoting successful prey capture. This study illustrates the rich variety of protein motifs that are available for recruitment into biopolymers, and how convergently evolved materials can nevertheless be based on fundamentally different protein structures. PMID:26006749

  19. Insect repellents: historical perspectives and new developments.

    PubMed

    Katz, Tracy M; Miller, Jason H; Hebert, Adelaide A

    2008-05-01

    Arthropod bites remain a major cause of patient morbidity. These bites can cause local or systemic effects that may be infectious or inflammatory in nature. Arthropods, notably insects and arachnids, are vectors of potentially serious ailments including malaria, West Nile virus, dengue, and Lyme disease. Measures to curtail the impact of insect bites are important in the worldwide public health effort to safely protect patients and prevent the spread of disease. The history of insect repellent (IR) lends insight into some of the current scientific strategies behind newer products. Active ingredients of currently available IRs include N,N-diethyl-3-methylbenzamide (DEET), botanicals, citronella, and, the newest agent, picaridin. Currently, the Environmental Protection Agency's registered IR ingredients approved for application to the skin include DEET, picaridin, MGK-326, MGK-264, IR3535, oil of citronella, and oil of lemon eucalyptus. DEET has reigned as the most efficacious and broadly used IR for the last 6 decades, with a strong safety record and excellent protection against ticks, mosquitoes, and other arthropods. Newer agents, like picaridin and natural products such as oil of lemon eucalyptus are becoming increasingly popular because of their low toxicity, comparable efficacy, and customer approval. Various characteristics and individual product advantages may lead physicians to recommend one agent over another. PMID:18272250

  20. Opsin Repertoire and Expression Patterns in Horseshoe Crabs: Evidence from the Genome of Limulus polyphemus (Arthropoda: Chelicerata).

    PubMed

    Battelle, Barbara-Anne; Ryan, Joseph F; Kempler, Karen E; Saraf, Spencer R; Marten, Catherine E; Warren, Wesley C; Minx, Patrick J; Montague, Michael J; Green, Pamela J; Schmidt, Skye A; Fulton, Lucinda; Patel, Nipam H; Protas, Meredith E; Wilson, Richard K; Porter, Megan L

    2016-01-01

    Horseshoe crabs are xiphosuran chelicerates, the sister group to arachnids. As such, they are important for understanding the most recent common ancestor of Euchelicerata and the evolution and diversification of Arthropoda. Limulus polyphemus is the most investigated of the four extant species of horseshoe crabs, and the structure and function of its visual system have long been a major focus of studies critical for understanding the evolution of visual systems in arthropods. Likewise, studies of genes encoding Limulus opsins, the protein component of the visual pigments, are critical for understanding opsin evolution and diversification among chelicerates, where knowledge of opsins is limited, and more broadly among arthropods. In the present study, we sequenced and assembled a high quality nuclear genomic sequence of L. polyphemus and used these data to annotate the full repertoire of Limulus opsins. We conducted a detailed phylogenetic analysis of Limulus opsins, including using gene structure and synteny information to identify relationships among different opsin classes. We used our phylogeny to identify significant genomic events that shaped opsin evolution and therefore the visual system of Limulus We also describe the tissue expression patterns of the 18 opsins identified and show that transcripts encoding a number, including a peropsin, are present throughout the central nervous system. In addition to significantly extending our understanding of photosensitivity in Limulus and providing critical insight into the genomic evolution of horseshoe crab opsins, this work provides a valuable genomic resource for addressing myriad questions related to xiphosuran physiology and arthropod evolution. PMID:27189985

  1. Quo Vadis Venomics? A Roadmap to Neglected Venomous Invertebrates

    PubMed Central

    von Reumont, Bjoern Marcus; Campbell, Lahcen I.; Jenner, Ronald A.

    2014-01-01

    Venomics research is being revolutionized by the increased use of sensitive -omics techniques to identify venom toxins and their transcripts in both well studied and neglected venomous taxa. The study of neglected venomous taxa is necessary both for understanding the full diversity of venom systems that have evolved in the animal kingdom, and to robustly answer fundamental questions about the biology and evolution of venoms without the distorting effect that can result from the current bias introduced by some heavily studied taxa. In this review we draw the outlines of a roadmap into the diversity of poorly studied and understood venomous and putatively venomous invertebrates, which together represent tens of thousands of unique venoms. The main groups we discuss are crustaceans, flies, centipedes, non-spider and non-scorpion arachnids, annelids, molluscs, platyhelminths, nemerteans, and echinoderms. We review what is known about the morphology of the venom systems in these groups, the composition of their venoms, and the bioactivities of the venoms to provide researchers with an entry into a large and scattered literature. We conclude with a short discussion of some important methodological aspects that have come to light with the recent use of new -omics techniques in the study of venoms. PMID:25533518

  2. Extant primitively segmented spiders have recently diversified from an ancient lineage

    PubMed Central

    Xu, Xin; Liu, Fengxiang; Cheng, Ren-Chung; Chen, Jian; Xu, Xiang; Zhang, Zhisheng; Ono, Hirotsugu; Pham, Dinh Sac; Norma-Rashid, Y.; Arnedo, Miquel A.; Kuntner, Matjaž; Li, Daiqin

    2015-01-01

    Living fossils are lineages that have retained plesiomorphic traits through long time periods. It is expected that such lineages have both originated and diversified long ago. Such expectations have recently been challenged in some textbook examples of living fossils, notably in extant cycads and coelacanths. Using a phylogenetic approach, we tested the patterns of the origin and diversification of liphistiid spiders, a clade of spiders considered to be living fossils due to their retention of arachnid plesiomorphies and their exclusive grouping in Mesothelae, an ancient clade sister to all modern spiders. Facilitated by original sampling throughout their Asian range, we here provide the phylogenetic framework necessary for reconstructing liphistiid biogeographic history. All phylogenetic analyses support the monophyly of Liphistiidae and of eight genera. As the fossil evidence supports a Carboniferous Euramerican origin of Mesothelae, our dating analyses postulate a long eastward over-land dispersal towards the Asian origin of Liphistiidae during the Palaeogene (39–58 Ma). Contrary to expectations, diversification within extant liphistiid genera is relatively recent, in the Neogene and Late Palaeogene (4–24 Ma). While no over-water dispersal events are needed to explain their evolutionary history, the history of liphistiid spiders has the potential to play prominently in vicariant biogeographic studies. PMID:25948684

  3. The role of viral persistence in flavivirus biology

    PubMed Central

    Mlera, Luwanika; Melik, Wessam; Bloom, Marshall E.

    2014-01-01

    In nature, vector-borne flaviviruses are persistently cycled between either the tick or mosquito vector and small mammals such as rodents, skunks, and swine. These viruses account for considerable human morbidity and mortality worldwide. Increasing and substantial evidence of viral persistence in humans, which includes the isolation of RNA by RT-PCR and infectious virus by culture, continues to be reported. Viral persistence can also be established in vitro in various human, animal, arachnid and insect cell lines in culture. Although some research has focused on the potential roles of defective virus particles, evasion of the immune response through the manipulation of autophagy and/or apoptosis, the precise mechanism of flavivirus persistence is still not well understood. We propose additional research for further understanding of how viral persistence is established in different systems. Avenues for additional studies include determining if the multifunctional flavivirus protein NS5 has a role in viral persistence, the development of relevant animal models of viral persistence as well as investigating the host responses that allow vector borne flavivirus replication without detrimental effects on infected cells. Such studies might shed more light on the viral-host relationships, and could be used to unravel the mechanisms for establishment of persistence. PMID:24737600

  4. A novel marine silk.

    PubMed

    Kronenberger, Katrin; Dicko, Cedric; Vollrath, Fritz

    2012-01-01

    The discovery of a novel silk production system in a marine amphipod provides insights into the wider potential of natural silks. The tube-building corophioid amphipod Crassicorophium bonellii produces from its legs fibrous, adhesive underwater threads that combine barnacle cement biology with aspects of spider silk thread extrusion spinning. We characterised the filamentous silk as a mixture of mucopolysaccharides and protein deriving from glands representing two distinct types. The carbohydrate and protein silk secretion is dominated by complex β-sheet structures and a high content of charged amino acid residues. The filamentous secretion product exits the gland through a pore near the tip of the secretory leg after having moved through a duct, which subdivides into several small ductules all terminating in a spindle-shaped chamber. This chamber communicates with the exterior and may be considered the silk reservoir and processing/mixing space, in which the silk is mechanically and potentially chemically altered and becomes fibrous. We assert that further study of this probably independently evolved, marine arthropod silk processing and secretion system can provide not only important insights into the more complex arachnid and insect silks but also into crustacean adhesion cements. PMID:22057952

  5. Variability and Action Mechanism of a Family of Anticomplement Proteins in Ixodes ricinus

    PubMed Central

    Lahaye, Kathia; Gensale, François; Denis, Valérie; Charloteaux, Benoît; Decrem, Yves; Prévôt, Pierre-Paul; Brossard, Michel; Vanhamme, Luc; Godfroid, Edmond

    2008-01-01

    Background Ticks are blood feeding arachnids that characteristically take a long blood meal. They must therefore counteract host defence mechanisms such as hemostasis, inflammation and the immune response. This is achieved by expressing batteries of salivary proteins coded by multigene families. Methodology/Principal Findings We report the in-depth analysis of a tick multigene family and describe five new anticomplement proteins in Ixodes ricinus. Compared to previously described Ixodes anticomplement proteins, these segregated into a new phylogenetic group or subfamily. These proteins have a novel action mechanism as they specifically bind to properdin, leading to the inhibition of C3 convertase and the alternative complement pathway. An excess of non-synonymous over synonymous changes indicated that coding sequences had undergone diversifying selection. Diversification was not associated with structural, biochemical or functional diversity, adaptation to host species or stage specificity but rather to differences in antigenicity. Conclusions/Significance Anticomplement proteins from I. ricinus are the first inhibitors that specifically target a positive regulator of complement, properdin. They may provide new tools for the investigation of role of properdin in physiological and pathophysiological mechanisms. They may also be useful in disorders affecting the alternative complement pathway. Looking for and detecting the different selection pressures involved will help in understanding the evolution of multigene families and hematophagy in arthropods. PMID:18167559

  6. Interaction of the tick immune system with transmitted pathogens

    PubMed Central

    Hajdušek, Ondřej; Šíma, Radek; Ayllón, Nieves; Jalovecká, Marie; Perner, Jan; de la Fuente, José; Kopáček, Petr

    2013-01-01

    Ticks are hematophagous arachnids transmitting a wide variety of pathogens including viruses, bacteria, and protozoans to their vertebrate hosts. The tick vector competence has to be intimately linked to the ability of transmitted pathogens to evade tick defense mechanisms encountered on their route through the tick body comprising midgut, hemolymph, salivary glands or ovaries. Tick innate immunity is, like in other invertebrates, based on an orchestrated action of humoral and cellular immune responses. The direct antimicrobial defense in ticks is accomplished by a variety of small molecules such as defensins, lysozymes or by tick-specific antimicrobial compounds such as microplusin/hebraein or 5.3-kDa family proteins. Phagocytosis of the invading microbes by tick hemocytes is likely mediated by the primordial complement-like system composed of thioester-containing proteins, fibrinogen-related lectins and convertase-like factors. Moreover, an important role in survival of the ingested microbes seems to be played by host proteins and redox balance maintenance in the tick midgut. Here, we summarize recent knowledge about the major components of tick immune system and focus on their interaction with the relevant tick-transmitted pathogens, represented by spirochetes (Borrelia), rickettsiae (Anaplasma), and protozoans (Babesia). Availability of the tick genomic database and feasibility of functional genomics based on RNA interference greatly contribute to the understanding of molecular and cellular interplay at the tick-pathogen interface and may provide new targets for blocking the transmission of tick pathogens. PMID:23875177

  7. Wolbachia Induces Male-Specific Mortality in the Mosquito Culex pipiens (LIN Strain)

    PubMed Central

    Rasgon, Jason L.

    2012-01-01

    Background Wolbachia are maternally inherited endosymbionts that infect a diverse range of invertebrates, including insects, arachnids, crustaceans and filarial nematodes. Wolbachia are responsible for causing diverse reproductive alterations in their invertebrate hosts that maximize their transmission to the next generation. Evolutionary theory suggests that due to maternal inheritance, Wolbachia should evolve toward mutualism in infected females, but strict maternal inheritance means there is no corresponding force to select for Wolbachia strains that are mutualistic in males. Methodology/Principal findings Using cohort life-table analysis, we demonstrate that in the mosquito Culex pipiens (LIN strain), Wolbachia-infected females show no fitness costs due to infection. However, Wolbachia induces up to a 30% reduction in male lifespan. Conclusions/significance These results indicate that the Wolbachia infection of the Culex pipiens LIN strain is virulent in a sex-specific manner. Under laboratory situations where mosquitoes generally mate at young ages, Wolbachia strains that reduce male survival could evolve by drift because increased mortality in older males is not a significant selective force. PMID:22427798

  8. Molecular characterization and evolutionary insights into potential sex-determination genes in the western orchard predatory mite Metaseiulus occidentalis (Chelicerata: Arachnida: Acari: Phytoseiidae).

    PubMed

    Pomerantz, Aaron F; Hoy, Marjorie A; Kawahara, Akito Y

    2015-01-01

    Little is known about the process of sex determination at the molecular level in species belonging to the subclass Acari, a taxon of arachnids that contains mites and ticks. The recent sequencing of the transcriptome and genome of the western orchard predatory mite Metaseiulus occidentalis allows investigation of molecular mechanisms underlying the biological processes of sex determination in this predator of phytophagous pest mites. We identified four doublesex-and-mab-3-related transcription factor (dmrt) genes, one transformer-2 gene, one intersex gene, and two fruitless-like genes in M. occidentalis. Phylogenetic analyses were conducted to infer the molecular relationships to sequences from species of arthropods, including insects, crustaceans, acarines, and a centipede, using available genomic data. Comparative analyses revealed high sequence identity within functional domains and confirmed that the architecture for certain sex-determination genes is conserved in arthropods. This study provides a framework for identifying potential target genes that could be implicated in the process of sex determination in M. occidentalis and provides insight into the conservation and change of the molecular components of sex determination in arthropods. PMID:25077523

  9. Characterization of a Gene Coding for the Complement System Component FB from Loxosceles laeta Spider Venom Glands

    PubMed Central

    Myamoto, Daniela Tiemi; Pidde-Queiroz, Giselle; Gonçalves-de-Andrade, Rute Maria; Pedroso, Aurélio; van den Berg, Carmen W.; Tambourgi, Denise V.

    2016-01-01

    The human complement system is composed of more than 30 proteins and many of these have conserved domains that allow tracing the phylogenetic evolution. The complement system seems to be initiated with the appearance of C3 and factor B (FB), the only components found in some protostomes and cnidarians, suggesting that the alternative pathway is the most ancient. Here, we present the characterization of an arachnid homologue of the human complement component FB from the spider Loxosceles laeta. This homologue, named Lox-FB, was identified from a total RNA L. laeta spider venom gland library and was amplified using RACE-PCR techniques and specific primers. Analysis of the deduced amino acid sequence and the domain structure showed significant similarity to the vertebrate and invertebrate FB/C2 family proteins. Lox-FB has a classical domain organization composed of a control complement protein domain (CCP), a von Willebrand Factor domain (vWFA), and a serine protease domain (SP). The amino acids involved in Mg2+ metal ion dependent adhesion site (MIDAS) found in the vWFA domain in the vertebrate C2/FB proteins are well conserved; however, the classic catalytic triad present in the serine protease domain is not conserved in Lox-FB. Similarity and phylogenetic analyses indicated that Lox-FB shares a major identity (43%) and has a close evolutionary relationship with the third isoform of FB-like protein (FB-3) from the jumping spider Hasarius adansoni belonging to the Family Salcitidae. PMID:26771533

  10. Sanctacaris uncata: the oldest chelicerate (Arthropoda)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Legg, David A.

    2014-12-01

    The morphology of the arthropod Sanctacaris uncata, from the Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale of Canada, is reinterpreted based on a restudy of previously described material. Although originally considered a chelicerate-like arthropod, these affinities were dismissed based primarily on interpretations of the anterior appendages and hypotheses which considered the megacheirans (`great-appendage' arthropods) as putative ancestors of chelicerates. The similarities between megacheirans and chelicerates appear to be overstated however, and this study instead reaffirms the identity of putative chelicerate feature in S. uncata and similar arthropods such as Sidneyia and Emeraldella, both also from the Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale. Newly interpreted features, including the presence of pediform exites, multi-partite trunk exopods, and a trunk differentiated into an anterior limb-bearing area and a differentiated posterior limbless abdomen, were coded into an extensive phylogenetic data set of fossil and recent arthropods. In all analyses, Sanctacaris resolved as the basal-most member of total-group Euchelicerata (the least inclusive group including horseshoe crabs and arachnids but not pycnogonids), thus making it the oldest chelicerate in the fossil record. The vicissicaudates (including Sidneyia, Emeraldella, aglaspidids, and cheloniellids—all of which have previously been allied to chelicerates) resolved as sister-taxon to crown-group Chelicerata. This topology indicates that many purported chelicerate features, such as lamellar gills, and a differentiated posterior abdomen evolved sequentially in the chelicerate stem-lineage.

  11. Grassland birds wintering at U.S. Navy facilities in southern Texas

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Woodin, Marc C.; Skoruppa, Mary Kay; Bryan, Pearce D.; Ruddy, Amanda J.; Hickman, Graham C.

    2010-01-01

    Grassland birds have undergone widespread decline throughout North America during the past several decades. Causes of this decline include habitat loss and fragmentation because of conversion of grasslands to cropland, afforestation in the East, brush and shrub invasion in the Southwest and western United States, and planting of exotic grass species to enhance forage production. A large number of exotic plant species, including grasses, have been introduced in North America, but most research on the effects of these invasions on birds has been limited to breeding birds, primarily those in northern latitudes. Research on the effects of exotic grasses on birds in winter has been extremely limited. This is the first study in southern Texas to examine and compare winter bird responses to native and exotic grasslands. This study was conducted during a period of six years (2003-2009) on United States Navy facilities in southern Texas including Naval Air Station-Corpus Christi, Naval Air Station-Kingsville, Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Waldron, Naval Auxiliary Landing Field Orange Grove, and Escondido Ranch, all of which contained examples of native grasslands, exotic grasslands, or both. Data from native and exotic grasslands were collected and compared for bird abundance and diversity; ground cover, vegetation density, and floristic diversity; bird and vegetation relationships; diversity of insects and arachnids; and seed abundance and diversity. Effects of management treatments in exotic grasslands were evaluated by comparing numbers and diversity of birds and small mammals in mowed, burned, and control areas. To determine bird abundance and bird species richness, birds were surveyed monthly (December-February) during the winters of 2003-2008 in transects (100 meter ? 20 meter) located in native and exotic grasslands distributed at all five U.S. Navy facilities. To compare vegetation in native and exotic grasslands, vegetation characteristics were measured during 2003

  12. Recognition and management of common ectoparasitic diseases in travelers.

    PubMed

    Davis, Rosie F; Johnston, Graham A; Sladden, Michael J

    2009-01-01

    This review article summarizes the ectoparasitic diseases likely to be seen by a Western dermatologist. The article aims to cover both endemic diseases and those likely to present in the returning traveler. Tungiasis is due to the gravid sand flea (Tunga penetrans) embedding into the stratum corneum of a human host. As the flea is a ground dweller, lesions are usually present on the feet and are classically periungual. The sand flea is eventually shed spontaneously but to reduce the infection risk, early surgical removal is recommended. Infestation by the Diptera species of fly causes myiasis, which may be primary, secondary, or accidental. The botfly (Dermatobia hominis) is one of the causes of primary myiasis covered in this article. Traditionally, botfly larvae are forced to partially emerge by occluding the breathing apparatus, following which manual extraction can occur. Alternatively, the larvae can be surgically removed. The common bed bug (Cimex lectularius) has experienced a resurgence over the past 10 years. Bites are typically arranged in clusters or a linear fashion and vary from urticated wheals to hemorrhagic blisters. Treatment is symptomatic with antihistamines and topical corticosteroids. In addition, bed bugs need to be eradicated from furniture and soft furnishings. Ticks are part of the Arachnid class of joint-legged animals and can transmit a variety of infections. This article briefly discusses Mediterranean spotted fever, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, and Lyme disease as well as describing tick avoidance measures. Scabies (Sarcoptes scabiei var hominis) is highly contagious and widely distributed around the world. It is common in the returning traveler and can require a high index of suspicion to diagnose. The treatment of choice in the US, UK, and Australia is permethrin 5% dermal cream, applied on two occasions, 1 week apart. PMID:19170405

  13. Peripheral synapses and giant neurons in whip spiders.

    PubMed

    Foelix, Rainer; Troyer, David; Igelmund, Peter

    2002-08-15

    Among invertebrates the synapses between neurons are generally restricted to ganglia, i.e., to the central nervous system (CNS). As an exception, synapses occur in the sensory nerves of arachnid legs, indicating that some nervous integration is already taking place far out in the periphery. In the antenniform legs of whip spiders (Amblypygi), a very special synaptic circuit is present. These highly modified legs contain several large interneurons (giant neurons) that receive mechanosensory input from 700-1,500 tarsal bristles. Some of the sensory cell axons contact a giant neuron at its short, branched dendrite, a few at the soma, but most synapse onto the long giant axon. The fine structure of these synapses resembles that of typical chemical synapses in other arthropods. Although thousands of sensory fibers converge on a single giant neuron, there is no reduction in the actual number of sensory fibers, because these afferent fibers continue their course to the CNS after having made several en passant synapses onto the giant neuron. Touching a single tarsal bristle is sufficient to elicit action potentials in a giant neuron. Owing to the large diameter of the giant axon (10-20 microm), the action potentials reach the CNS within 55 ms, at conduction velocities of up to 7 m/s. However, mechanical stimulation of the tarsal bristles does not elicit a fast escape response, in contrast to giant fiber systems in earthworms, certain insects, and crayfishes. A quick escape is observed in whip spiders, but only after stimulation of the filiform hairs (trichobothria) on the regular walking legs. Although the giant fiber system in the antenniform legs undoubtedly provides a fast sensory pathway, its biological significance is not clearly understood at the moment. PMID:12214295

  14. Traps of carnivorous pitcher plants as a habitat: composition of the fluid, biodiversity and mutualistic activities

    PubMed Central

    Adlassnig, Wolfram; Peroutka, Marianne; Lendl, Thomas

    2011-01-01

    Background Carnivorous pitcher plants (CPPs) use cone-shaped leaves to trap animals for nutrient supply but are not able to kill all intruders of their traps. Numerous species, ranging from bacteria to vertrebrates, survive and propagate in the otherwise deadly traps. This paper reviews the literature on phytotelmata of CPPs. Pitcher Fluid as a Habitat The volumes of pitchers range from 0·2 mL to 1·5 L. In Nepenthes and Cephalotus, the fluid is secreted by the trap; the other genera collect rain water. The fluid is usually acidic, rich in O2 and contains digestive enzymes. In some taxa, toxins or detergents are found, or the fluid is extremely viscous. In Heliamphora or Sarracenia, the fluid differs little from pure water. Inquiline Diversity Pitcher inquilines comprise bacteria, protozoa, algae, fungi, rotifers, crustaceans, arachnids, insects and amphibia. The dominant groups are protists and Dipteran larvae. The various species of CPPs host different sets of inquilines. Sarracenia purpurea hosts up to 165 species of inquilines, followed by Nepenthes ampullaria with 59 species, compared with only three species from Brocchinia reducta. Reasons for these differences include size, the life span of the pitcher as well as its fluid. Mutualistic Activities Inquilines closely interact with their host. Some live as parasites, but the vast majority are mutualists. Beneficial activities include secretion of enzymes, feeding on the plant's prey and successive excretion of inorganic nutrients, mechanical break up of the prey, removal of excessive prey and assimilation of atmospheric N2. Conclusions There is strong evidence that CPPs influence their phytotelm. Two strategies can be distinguished: (1) Nepenthes and Cephalotus produce acidic, toxic or digestive fluids and host a limited diversity of inquilines. (2) Genera without efficient enzymes such as Sarracenia or Heliamphora host diverse organisms and depend to a large extent on their symbionts for prey utilization

  15. Synthesis, biological activities and structure-activity relationships for new avermectin analogues.

    PubMed

    Zhang, Jian; Nan, Xiang; Yu, Hai-Tao; Cheng, Pi-Le; Zhang, Yan; Liu, Ying-Qian; Zhang, Shao-Yong; Hu, Guan-Fang; Liu, Huanxiang; Chen, An-Liang

    2016-10-01

    In an effort to discover new molecules with good insecticidal activities, more than 40 new avermectin derivatives were synthesized and evaluated for their biological activities against three species of arachnids, insects and nematodes, namely, Tetranychus Cinnabarinus, Aphis craccivora and Bursaphelenchus xylophilus. All the tested compounds showed potent inhibitory activities against three insect species. Notably, the majority of compounds exhibited high selectivity against T. cinnabarinus, some of which were much better in comparison with avermectin. Especially compounds 9j (LC50: 0.005 μM) and 16d (LC50: 0.002 μM) were 2.5- and 4.7-fold more active than avermectin (LC50: 0.013 μM), respectively, against T. cinnabarinus. Moreover, compounds 9b, 9d-f, 9h, 9j, 9l, 9n, 9p, 9r, 9v and 17d showed superior activities with LC50 values of 2.959-5.013 μM compared to that of 1 (LC50: 6.746 μM) against B. xylophilus. Meanwhile, the insecticidal activities of compounds 9f, 9g, 9h, and 9m against A. craccivora were 7-8 times better than that of avermectin, with LC50 values of 7.744, 5.634, 6.809, 7.939 and 52.234 μM, respectively. Furthermore, QSAR analysis showed that the molecular shape, size, connectivity degree and electronic distribution of avermectin analogues had substantial effects on insecticidal potency. These preliminary results provided useful insight in guiding further modifications of avermectin in the development of potential new insecticides. PMID:27318119

  16. Identification and Structural-Functional Analysis of Cyclin-Dependent Kinases of the Cattle Tick Rhipicephalus (Boophilus) microplus

    PubMed Central

    Gomes, Helga; Romeiro, Nelilma C.; Braz, Gloria R. C.; de Oliveira, Eduardo Alves Gamosa; Rodrigues, Camilla; da Fonseca, Rodrigo Nunes; Githaka, Naftaly; Isezaki, Masayoshi; Konnai, Satoru; Ohashi, Kazuhiko; da Silva Vaz, Itabajara; Logullo, Carlos; Moraes, Jorge

    2013-01-01

    Cyclin-dependent kinases (CDKs) are a family of serine/threonine kinases essential for cell cycle progression. Herein, we describe the participation of CDKs in the physiology of Rhipicephalus microplus, the southern cattle tick and an important disease vector. Firstly, amino acid sequences homologous with CDKs of other organisms were identified from a R. microplus transcriptome database in silico. The analysis of the deduced amino acid sequences of CDK1 and CDK10 from R. microplus showed that both have caspase-3/7 cleavage motifs despite their differences in motif position and length of encoded proteins. CDK1 has two motifs (DKRGD and SAKDA) located opposite to the ATP binding site while CDK10 has only one motif (SLLDN) for caspase 3–7 near the ATP binding site. Roscovitine (Rosco), a purine derivative that inhibits CDK/cyclin complexes by binding to the catalytic domain of the CDK molecule at the ATP binding site, which prevents the transfer of ATP's γphosphoryl group to the substrate. To determine the effect of Rosco on tick CDKs, BME26 cells derived from R. microplus embryo cells were utilized in vitro inhibition assays. Cell viability decreased in the Rosco-treated groups after 24 hours of incubation in a concentration-dependent manner and this was observed up to 48 hours following incubation. To our knowledge, this is the first report on characterization of a cell cycle protein in arachnids, and the sensitivity of BME26 tick cell line to Rosco treatment suggests that CDKs are potential targets for novel drug design to control tick infestation. PMID:24146826

  17. Neuropeptide Y family-degrading metallopeptidases in the Tityus serrulatus venom partially blocked by commercial antivenoms.

    PubMed

    Cajado Carvalho, Daniela; Kuniyoshi, Alexandre K; Kodama, Roberto T; Oliveira, Ana K; Serrano, Solange M T; Tambourgi, Denise V; Portaro, Fernanda V

    2014-12-01

    Accidents caused by scorpions represent a relevant public health issue in Brazil, being more recurring than incidents with snakes and spiders. The main species responsible for this situation is the yellow scorpion, Tityus serrulatus, due especially to the great frequency with which accidents occur and the potential of its venom to induce severe clinical manifestations, even death, mainly among children. Although neurotoxins are well characterized, little information is known about other components of scorpion venoms, such as peptidases, and their effect on envenomation. Previous results from our group showed that the metallopeptidases present in this venom are capable of hydrolyzing the neuropeptide dynorphin 1-13 in vitro, releasing Leu-enkephalin, which may interact with ion channels and promote indirect neurotoxicity. Thus, this study aims to get more information about the effect of toxic peptidase activity present in the venom on biologically active peptides, and to evaluate the in vitro neutralizing potential of commercial antivenoms produced by the Butantan Institute. A set of human bioactive peptides were studied as substrates for the peptidases, and the members of the neuropeptide Y family were found to be the most susceptible ones. All new substrate hydrolyses were totally inhibited by ethylenediaminetetracetic and not blocked by phenylmethanesulfonylfluoride, indicating that metallopeptidases were responsible for the peptidase activity. Also, peptidase activities were only partially inhibited by therapeutic Brazilian scorpion antivenom (SAV) and arachnid antivenom (AAV). The dose-response inhibition by both antivenoms indicates that AAV neutralizes better than SAV at the used doses. These characterizations, unpublished until now, can contribute to the improvement of our knowledge about the venom and envenomation processes by T. serrulatus. PMID:25239630

  18. Genome Sequencing of the Phytoseiid Predatory Mite Metaseiulus occidentalis Reveals Completely Atomized Hox Genes and Superdynamic Intron Evolution

    PubMed Central

    Hoy, Marjorie A.; Waterhouse, Robert M.; Wu, Ke; Estep, Alden S.; Ioannidis, Panagiotis; Palmer, William J.; Pomerantz, Aaron F.; Simão, Felipe A.; Thomas, Jainy; Jiggins, Francis M.; Murphy, Terence D.; Pritham, Ellen J.; Robertson, Hugh M.; Zdobnov, Evgeny M.; Gibbs, Richard A.; Richards, Stephen

    2016-01-01

    Metaseiulus occidentalis is an eyeless phytoseiid predatory mite employed for the biological control of agricultural pests including spider mites. Despite appearances, these predator and prey mites are separated by some 400 Myr of evolution and radically different lifestyles. We present a 152-Mb draft assembly of the M. occidentalis genome: Larger than that of its favored prey, Tetranychus urticae, but considerably smaller than those of many other chelicerates, enabling an extremely contiguous and complete assembly to be built—the best arachnid to date. Aided by transcriptome data, genome annotation cataloged 18,338 protein-coding genes and identified large numbers of Helitron transposable elements. Comparisons with other arthropods revealed a particularly dynamic and turbulent genomic evolutionary history. Its genes exhibit elevated molecular evolution, with strikingly high numbers of intron gains and losses, in stark contrast to the deer tick Ixodes scapularis. Uniquely among examined arthropods, this predatory mite’s Hox genes are completely atomized, dispersed across the genome, and it encodes five copies of the normally single-copy RNA processing Dicer-2 gene. Examining gene families linked to characteristic biological traits of this tiny predator provides initial insights into processes of sex determination, development, immune defense, and how it detects, disables, and digests its prey. As the first reference genome for the Phytoseiidae, and for any species with the rare sex determination system of parahaploidy, the genome of the western orchard predatory mite improves genomic sampling of chelicerates and provides invaluable new resources for functional genomic analyses of this family of agriculturally important mites. PMID:26951779

  19. Biochemical, Transcriptomic and Proteomic Analyses of Digestion in the Scorpion Tityus serrulatus: Insights into Function and Evolution of Digestion in an Ancient Arthropod

    PubMed Central

    Fuzita, Felipe J.; Pinkse, Martijn W. H.; Patane, José S. L.; Juliano, Maria A.; Verhaert, Peter D. E. M.; Lopes, Adriana R.

    2015-01-01

    , a large gene duplication of cathepsin L occurred in Arachnida with the sequences from ticks being completely divergent from other arachnids probably due to the particular selective pressures over this group. PMID:25875018

  20. Definitive evidence for the existence of tight junctions in invertebrates.

    PubMed

    Lane, N J; Chandler, H J

    1980-09-01

    Extensive and unequivocal tight junctions are here reported between the lateral borders of the cellular layer that circumscribes the arachnid (spider) central nervous system. This account details the features of these structures, which form a beltlike reticulum that is more complex than the simple linear tight junctions hitherto found in invertebrate tissues and which bear many of the characteristics of vertebrate zonulae occludentes. We also provide evidence that these junctions form the basis of a permeability barrier to exogenous compounds. In thin sections, the tight junctions are identifiable as punctate points of membrane apposition; they are seen to exclude the stain and appear as election- lucent moniliform strands along the lines of membrane fusion in en face views of uranyl-calcium-treated tissues. In freeze-fracture replicas, the regions of close membrane apposition exhibit P-face (PF) ridges and complementary E-face (EF) furrows that are coincident across face transitions, although slightly offset with respect to one another. The free inward diffusion of both ionic and colloidal lanthanum is inhibited by these punctate tight junctions so that they appear to form the basis of a circumferential blood-brain barrier. These results support the contention that tight junctions exist in the tissues of the invertebrata in spite of earlier suggestions that (a) they are unique to vertebrates and (b) septate junctions are the equivalent invertebrate occluding structure. The component tight junctional 8- to 10-nm-particulate PF ridges are intimately intercalated with, but clearly distinct from, inverted gap junctions possessing the 13-nm EF particles typical of arthropods. Hence, no confusion can occur as to which particles belong to each of the two junctional types, as commonly happens with vertebrate tissues, especially in the analysis of developing junctions. Indeed, their coexistance in this way supports the idea, over which there has been some controversy, that

  1. Gluing the 'unwettable': soil-dwelling harvestmen use viscoelastic fluids for capturing springtails.

    PubMed

    Wolff, Jonas O; Schönhofer, Axel L; Schaber, Clemens F; Gorb, Stanislav N

    2014-10-01

    Gluing can be a highly efficient mechanism of prey capture, as it should require less complex sensory-muscular feedback. Whereas it is well known in insects, this mechanism is much less studied in arachnids, except spiders. Soil-dwelling harvestmen (Opiliones, Nemastomatidae) bear drumstick-like glandular hairs (clavate setae) at their pedipalps, which were previously hypothesized to be sticky and used in prey capture. However, clear evidence for this was lacking to date. Using high-speed videography, we found that the harvestman Mitostoma chrysomelas was able to capture fast-moving springtails (Collembola) just by a slight touch of the pedipalp. Adhesion of single clavate setae increased proportionally with pull-off velocity, from 1 μN at 1 μm s(-1) up to 7 μN at 1 mm s(-1), which corresponds to the typical weight of springtails. Stretched glue droplets exhibited characteristics of a viscoelastic fluid forming beads-on-a-string morphology over time, similar to spider capture threads and the sticky tentacles of carnivorous plants. These analogies indicate that viscoelasticity is a highly efficient mechanism for prey capture, as it holds stronger the faster the struggling prey moves. Cryo-scanning electron microscopy of snap-frozen harvestmen with glued springtails revealed that the gluey secretions have a high affinity to wet the microstructured cuticle of collembolans, which was previously reported to be barely wettable for both polar and non-polar liquids. Glue droplets can be contaminated with the detached scaly setae of collembolans, which may represent a counter-adaptation against entrapment by the glue, similar to the scaly surfaces of Lepidoptera and Trichoptera (Insecta) facilitating escape from spider webs. PMID:25274325

  2. Functional characterisation of a nicotinic acetylcholine receptor α subunit from the brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus☆

    PubMed Central

    Lees, Kristin; Jones, Andrew K.; Matsuda, Kazuhiko; Akamatsu, Miki; Sattelle, David B.; Woods, Debra J.; Bowman, Alan S.

    2014-01-01

    Ticks and tick-borne diseases have a major impact on human and animal health worldwide. Current control strategies rely heavily on the use of chemical acaricides, most of which target the CNS and with increasing resistance, new drugs are urgently needed. Nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (nAChRs) are targets of highly successful insecticides. We isolated a full-length nAChR α subunit from a normalised cDNA library from the synganglion (brain) of the brown dog tick, Rhipicephalus sanguineus. Phylogenetic analysis has shown this R. sanguineus nAChR to be most similar to the insect α1 nAChR group and has been named Rsanα1. Rsanα1 is distributed in multiple tick tissues and is present across all life-stages. When expressed in Xenopus laevis oocytes Rsanα1 failed to function as a homomer, with and without the addition of either Caenorhabditis elegans resistance-to-cholinesterase (RIC)-3 or X. laevis RIC-3. When co-expressed with chicken β2 nAChR, Rsanα1 evoked concentration-dependent, inward currents in response to acetylcholine (ACh) and showed sensitivity to nicotine (100 μM) and choline (100 μM). Rsanα1/β2 was insensitive to both imidacloprid (100 μM) and spinosad (100 μM). The unreliable expression of Rsanα1 in vitro suggests that additional subunits or chaperone proteins may be required for more robust expression. This study enhances our understanding of nAChRs in arachnids and may provide a basis for further studies on the interaction of compounds with the tick nAChR as part of a discovery process for novel acaricides. PMID:24291321

  3. Biochemical, transcriptomic and proteomic analyses of digestion in the scorpion Tityus serrulatus: insights into function and evolution of digestion in an ancient arthropod.

    PubMed

    Fuzita, Felipe J; Pinkse, Martijn W H; Patane, José S L; Juliano, Maria A; Verhaert, Peter D E M; Lopes, Adriana R

    2015-01-01

    , a large gene duplication of cathepsin L occurred in Arachnida with the sequences from ticks being completely divergent from other arachnids probably due to the particular selective pressures over this group. PMID:25875018

  4. Spintharus flavidus in the Caribbean—a 30 million year biogeographical history and radiation of a ‘widespread species’

    PubMed Central

    Dziki, Austin; Binford, Greta J.; Coddington, Jonathan A.

    2015-01-01

    The Caribbean island biota is characterized by high levels of endemism, the result of an interplay between colonization opportunities on islands and effective oceanic barriers among them. A relatively small percentage of the biota is represented by ‘widespread species,’ presumably taxa for which oceanic barriers are ineffective. Few studies have explored in detail the genetic structure of widespread Caribbean taxa. The cobweb spider Spintharus flavidus Hentz, 1850 (Theridiidae) is one of two described Spintharus species and is unique in being widely distributed from northern N. America to Brazil and throughout the Caribbean. As a taxonomic hypothesis, Spintharus “flavidus” predicts maintenance of gene flow among Caribbean islands, a prediction that seems contradicted by known S. flavidus biology, which suggests limited dispersal ability. As part of an extensive survey of Caribbean arachnids (project CarBio), we conducted the first molecular phylogenetic analysis of S. flavidus with the primary goal of testing the ‘widespread species’ hypothesis. Our results, while limited to three molecular loci, reject the hypothesis of a single widespread species. Instead this lineage seems to represent a radiation with at least 16 species in the Caribbean region. Nearly all are short range endemics with several distinct mainland groups and others are single island endemics. While limited taxon sampling, with a single specimen from S. America, constrains what we can infer about the biogeographical history of the lineage, clear patterns still emerge. Consistent with limited overwater dispersal, we find evidence for a single colonization of the Caribbean about 30 million years ago, coinciding with the timing of the GAARLandia landbridge hypothesis. In sum, S. “flavidus” is not a single species capable of frequent overwater dispersal, but rather a 30 my old radiation of single island endemics that provides preliminary support for a complex and contested geological

  5. Mangrove macrobenthos: Assemblages, services, and linkages

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Lee, S. Y.

    2008-02-01

    Macrobenthic assemblages are relatively poorly known compared to other components of the mangrove ecosystem. Tropical mangroves support macrobenthic biodiversity resources yet to be properly documented and interpreted. Some methodological challenges, such as the generally high spatial heterogeneity and complexity of the habitat, evidently reduce sampling efficiency and accuracy, while also leaving some microhabitats under-sampled. Macrobenthic assemblage structure seems to be influenced by local environmental conditions, such as hydroperiod, organic matter availability and sediment characteristics. Brachyurans, gastropods and oligochaetes dominate in the sediment, with the former two groups also common on hard surfaces provided by tree trunks, while insects and arachnids inhabit the canopy. Traditionally, studies of mangrove macrobenthos have focused on assemblage structure or the biology of individual species, but more complex inter-specific interactions and the inter-relationship between habitat and the biota are recently being addressed. Brachyuran crabs are the best-studied macrobenthos group, but many issues about their role in mangrove ecosystem dynamics are still controversial. Despite many species of mangrove macrobenthos being referred to as 'trophic dead ends', most serve as important links between recalcitrant mangrove organic matter and estuarine secondary production, through feeding excursion by mobile nekton during the high tide, and macrobenthos-mediated processing and exportation of organic matter. A significant difference in the standing crop biomass of forests between the Indo-west-Pacific (IWP)' and Atlantic-east-Pacific (AEP) mangroves may be related to the difference in species richness of mangrove as well as macrobenthos diversity in the two bioregions. Such differences in assemblage structure may also result in different ecosystem functioning, but the nature of the links is, however, yet to be explored. There is also a strong need for

  6. Scorpion Sheds ‘Tail’ to Escape: Consequences and Implications of Autotomy in Scorpions (Buthidae: Ananteris)

    PubMed Central

    Mattoni, Camilo I.; García-Hernández, Solimary; Botero-Trujillo, Ricardo; Ochoa, José A.; Ojanguren-Affilastro, Andrés A.; Pinto-da-Rocha, Ricardo; Prendini, Lorenzo

    2015-01-01

    Autotomy, the voluntary shedding or detachment of a body part at a determined cleavage plane, is a common anti-predation defense mechanism in several animal taxa, including arthropods. Among arachnids, autotomy has been observed in harvestmen, mites, and spiders, always involving the loss of legs. Autotomy of the opisthosoma (abdomen) was recently reported in a single species of the Neotropical buthid scorpion genus Ananteris Thorell, 1891, but few details were revealed. Based on observations in the field and laboratory, examination of material in museum collections, and scanning electron microscopy, we document autotomy of the metasoma (the hind part of the opisthosoma, or ‘tail’) in fourteen species of Ananteris. Autotomy is more common in males than females, and has not been observed in juveniles. When the scorpion is held by the metasoma, it is voluntarily severed at the joints between metasomal segments I and II, II and III, or III and IV, allowing the scorpion to escape. After detachment, the severed metasoma moves (twitches) automatically, much like the severed tail of a lizard or the severed leg of a spider, and reacts to contact, even attempting to sting. The severed surface heals rapidly, scar tissue forming in five days. The lost metasomal segments and telson cannot be regenerated. Autotomy of the metasoma and telson results in permanent loss of the posterior part of the scorpion’s digestive system (the anus is situated posteriorly on metasomal segment V) and the ability to inject venom by stinging. After autotomy, scorpions do not defecate and can only capture small prey items. However, males can survive and mate successfully for up to eight months in the laboratory. In spite of diminished predation ability after autotomy, survival allows males to reproduce. Autotomy in Ananteris therefore appears to be an effective, adaptive, anti-predation escape mechanism. PMID:25629529

  7. Arthropod-Borne Diseases: The Camper's Uninvited Guests.

    PubMed

    Juckett, Gregory

    2015-08-01

    Arthropod-borne diseases are a major problem whenever outdoor activities bring arthropods and people into contact. The arthropods discussed here include arachnids (ticks) and insects. Most arthropod bites and stings are minor, with the notable exception being bee-sting anaphylaxis. Ticks cause the most disease transmission. Key hard tick vectors include black-legged (Ixodes), dog (Dermacentor), and lone star (Amblyomma) ticks, which transmit Lyme and various rickettsial diseases. Insect repellents, permethrin sprays, and proper tick inspection reduce this risk significantly. Lyme disease and the milder southern-tick-associated rash illness (STARI) are characterized by the erythema migrans rash followed, in the case of Lyme disease, by early, disseminated, and late systemic symptoms. Treatment is with doxycycline or ceftriaxone. Indefinite treatment of "chronic Lyme disease" based on subjective symptoms is not beneficial. Rickettsial diseases include ehrlichiosis, anaplasmosis, and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, which are characterized by fever, headache, and possible rash and should be empirically treated with doxycycline while awaiting laboratory confirmation. Tularemia is a bacterial disease (Francisella) spread by ticks and rabbits and characterized by fever and adenopathy. Treatment is with gentamicin or streptomycin. Babesiosis is a protozoal disease, mimicking malaria, that causes a self-limited flu-like disease in healthy hosts but can be life threatening with immune compromise. Treatment is with atovaquone and azithromycin. Other tick-related conditions include viral diseases (Powassan, Colorado tick fever, heartland virus), tick-borne relapsing fever (Borrelia), and tick paralysis (toxin). Mosquitoes, lice, fleas, and mites are notable for their annoying bites but are increasingly significant disease vectors even in the United States. PMID:26350321

  8. Cysteine cathepsins as digestive enzymes in the spider Nephilengys cruentata.

    PubMed

    Fuzita, Felipe J; Pinkse, Martijn W H; Verhaert, Peter D E M; Lopes, Adriana R

    2015-05-01

    Cysteine cathepsins are widely spread on living organisms associated to protein degradation in lysosomes, but some groups of Arthropoda (Heteroptera, Coleoptera, Crustacea and Acari) present these enzymes related to digestion of the meal proteins. Although spiders combine a mechanism of extra-oral with intracellular digestion, the sporadic studies on this subject were mainly concerned with the digestive fluid (DF) analysis. Thus, a more complete scenario of the digestive process in spiders is still lacking in the literature. In this paper we describe the identification and characterization of cysteine cathepsins in the midgut diverticula (MD) and DF of the spider Nephilengys cruentata by using enzymological assays. Furthermore, qualitative and quantitative data from transcriptomic followed by proteomic experiments were used together with biochemical assays for results interpretation. Five cathepsins L, one cathepsin F and one cathepsin B were identified by mass spectrometry, with cathepsins L1 (NcCTSL1) and 2 (NcCTSL2) as the most abundant enzymes. The native cysteine cathepsins presented acidic characteristics such as pH optima of 5.5, pH stability in acidic range and zymogen conversion to the mature form after in vitro acidification. NcCTSL1 seems to be a lysosomal enzyme with its recombinant form displaying acidic characteristics as the native ones and being inhibited by pepstatin. Evolutionarily, arachnid cathepsin L may have acquired different roles but its use for digestion is a common feature to studied taxa. Now a more elucidative picture of the digestive process in spiders can be depicted, with trypsins and astacins acting extra-orally under alkaline conditions whereas cysteine cathepsins will act in an acidic environment, likely in the digestive vacuoles or lysosome-like vesicles. PMID:25818482

  9. Coexistence of Borrelia burgdorferi s.l. genospecies within Ixodes ricinus ticks from central and eastern Poland.

    PubMed

    Sytykiewicz, Hubert; Karbowiak, Grzegorz; Chorostowska-Wynimko, Joanna; Szpechciński, Adam; Supergan-Marwicz, Marta; Horbowicz, Marcin; Szwed, Magdalena; Czerniewicz, Paweł; Sprawka, Iwona

    2015-12-01

    The purpose of the study was to assess the prevalence and coinfection rates of Borrelia burgdorferi sensu lato genotypes in Ixodes ricinus (L.) ticks sampled from diverse localities in central and eastern regions of Poland. In years 2009-2011, questing nymphs and adults of I. ricinus were collected using a flagging method at 18 localities representing distinct ecosystem types: urban green areas, suburban forests and rural woodlands. Molecular detection of B. burgdorferi s.l. genospecies was based on amplification of a fla gene using nested PCR technique, subsequent PCR-RFLP analysis and bidirectional sequencing. It was revealed that 45 samples (2.1%) harboured two different B. burgdorferi s.l. genospecies, whereas triple infections with various spirochetes was found in 11 (0.5%) individuals. Generally, the highest average coinfection rates were evidenced in arachnids gathered at rural woodlands, intermediate at suburban forests, while the lowest were recorded at urban green areas. Overall, single spirochete infections were noted in 16.3% (n = 352/2,153) ticks. Importantly, it is the first report evidencing the occurrence of Borrelia miyamotoi (0.3%, n = 7/2153) in I. ricinus populations within central Poland. Circumstantial variability of B. burgdorferi s.l. genospecies in the common tick individuals sampled at various habitat types in central and eastern Poland was displayed. The coexistence of two or three different spirochete genospecies in single adult ticks, as well as the presence of B. miyamotoi were demonstrated. Therefore, further studies uncovering the co-circulation of the tested bacteria and other human pathogens in I. ricinus ticks are required. PMID:26408587

  10. National Estimates of Noncanine Bite and Sting Injuries Treated in US Hospital Emergency Departments, 2001–2010

    PubMed Central

    Langley, Ricky; Mack, Karin; Haileyesus, Tadesse; Proescholdbell, Scott; Annest, Joseph L.

    2015-01-01

    Objective Injuries resulting from contact with animals and insects are a significant public health concern. This study quantifies nonfatal bite and sting injuries by noncanine sources using data from the National Electronic Injury Surveillance System–All Injury Program (NEISS-AIP). Methods The NEISS-AIP is an ongoing nationally representative surveillance system used to monitor all types and causes of injuries treated in US hospital emergency departments (EDs). Cases were coded by trained hospital coders using information from medical records on animal and insect sources of bite and sting injuries being treated. Data were weighted to produce national annualized estimates, percentages, and rates based on the US population. Results From 2001 to 2010 an estimated 10.1 million people visited EDs for noncanine bite and sting injuries, based on an unweighted case count of 169,010. This translates to a rate of 340.1 per 100,000 people (95% CI, 232.9–447.3). Insects accounted for 67.5% (95% CI, 45.8–89.2) of bite and sting injuries, followed by arachnids 20.8% (95% CI, 13.8–27.9). The estimated number of ED visits for bedbug bite injuries increased more than 7-fold—from 2156 visits in 2007 to 15,945 visits in 2010. Conclusions This study provides an update of national estimates of noncanine bite and sting injuries and describes the diversity of animal exposures based on a national sample of EDs. Treatment of nonfatal bite and sting injuries are costly to society. Direct medical and work time lost translates to an estimated $7.5 billion annually. PMID:24433776

  11. Bacillus thuringiensis Is an Environmental Pathogen and Host-Specificity Has Developed as an Adaptation to Human-Generated Ecological Niches

    PubMed Central

    Argôlo-Filho, Ronaldo Costa; Loguercio, Leandro Lopes

    2013-01-01

    Bacillus thuringiensis (Bt) has been used successfully as a biopesticide for more than 60 years. More recently, genes encoding their toxins have been used to transform plants and other organisms. Despite the large amount of research on this bacterium, its true ecology is still a matter of debate, with two major viewpoints dominating: while some understand Bt as an insect pathogen, others see it as a saprophytic bacteria from soil. In this context, Bt’s pathogenicity to other taxa and the possibility that insects may not be the primary targets of Bt are also ideas that further complicate this scenario. The existence of conflicting research results, the difficulty in developing broader ecological and genetics studies, and the great genetic plasticity of this species has cluttered a definitive concept. In this review, we gathered information on the aspects of Bt ecology that are often ignored, in the attempt to clarify the lifestyle, mechanisms of transmission and target host range of this bacterial species. As a result, we propose an integrated view to account for Bt ecology. Although Bt is indeed a pathogenic bacterium that possesses a broad arsenal for virulence and defense mechanisms, as well as a wide range of target hosts, this seems to be an adaptation to specific ecological changes acting on a versatile and cosmopolitan environmental bacterium. Bt pathogenicity and host-specificity was favored evolutionarily by increased populations of certain insect species (or other host animals), whose availability for colonization were mostly caused by anthropogenic activities. These have generated the conditions for ecological imbalances that favored dominance of specific populations of insects, arachnids, nematodes, etc., in certain areas, with narrower genetic backgrounds. These conditions provided the selective pressure for development of new hosts for pathogenic interactions, and so, host specificity of certain strains. PMID:26462580

  12. The Unique Morgue Ubiquitination Protein Is Conserved in a Diverse but Restricted Set of Invertebrates

    PubMed Central

    Zhou, Ying; Carpenter, Zachary W.; Brennan, Gregory

    2009-01-01

    Drosophila Morgue is a unique ubiquitination protein that facilitates programmed cell death and associates with DIAP1, a critical cell death inhibitor with E3 ubiquitin ligase activity. Morgue possesses a unique combination of functional domains typically associated with distinct types of ubiquitination enzymes. This includes an F box characteristic of the substrate-binding subunit in Skp, Cullin, and F box (SCF)-type ubiquitin E3 ligase complexes and a variant ubiquitin E2 conjugase domain where the active site cysteine is replaced by a glycine. Morgue also contains a single C4-type zinc finger motif. This architecture suggests potentially novel ubiquitination activities for Morgue. In this study, we address the evolutionary origins of this distinctive protein utilizing a combination of bioinformatics and molecular biology approaches. We find that Morgue exhibits widespread but restricted phylogenetic distribution among metazoans. Morgue proteins were identified in a wide range of Protostome phyla, including Arthropoda, Annelida, Mollusca, Nematoda, and Platyhelminthes. However, with one potential exception, Morgue was not detected in Deuterostomes, including Chordates, Hemichordates, or Echinoderms. Morgue was also not found in Ctenophora, Cnidaria, Placozoa, or Porifera. Characterization of Morgue sequences within specific animal lineages suggests that gene deletion or acquisition has occurred during divergence of nematodes and that at least one arachnid expresses an atypical form of Morgue consisting only of the variant E2 conjugase domain. Analysis of the organization of several morgue genes suggests that exon-shuffling events have contributed to the evolution of the Morgue protein. These results suggest that Morgue mediates conserved and distinctive ubiquitination functions in specific cell death pathways. PMID:19602541

  13. Phenoptosis in arthropods and immortality of social insects.

    PubMed

    Kartsev, V M

    2014-10-01

    In general, there are no drastic differences in phenoptosis patterns in plant and animal organisms. However, there are some specific features characteristic for insects and other arthropods: 1) their development includes metamorphosis with different biochemical laws at consecutive developmental stages; 2) arthropods can reduce or stop development and aging when in a state of diapause or temporal cold immobility; 3) their life cycle often correlates with seasonal changes of surroundings; 4) polymorphism is widespread - conspecifics differ by their lifespans and phenoptosis features; 5) lifespan-related sexual dimorphism is common; 6) significant situational plasticity of life cycle organization is an important feature; for example, the German wasp (Paravespula germanica) is obligatorily univoltine in the temperate zone, while in tropical regions its lifespan increases and leads to repeated reproduction; 7) life cycles of closely related species may differ significantly, for example, in contrast to German wasp, some tropical hornets (Vespa) have only one reproduction period. Surprisingly, many insect species have been shown to be subjected to gradual aging and phenoptosis, like the highest mammals. However, queens of social insects and some long-lived arachnids can apparently be considered non-aging organisms. In some species, lifespan is limited to one season, while others live much longer or shorter. Cases of one-time reproduction are rather rare. Aphagia is common in insects (over 10,000 species). Cannibalism is an important mortality factor in insects as well as in spiders. In social insects, which exist only in colonies (families), the lifetime of a colony can be virtually unlimited. However, in case of some species the developmental cycle and death of a colony after its completion are predetermined. Most likely, natural selection in insects does not lengthen individual lifespan, but favors increase in reproduction efficiency based on fast succession of

  14. The complete mitochondrial genome sequence of the spider habronattus oregonensis reveals rearranged and extremely truncated tRNAs

    SciTech Connect

    Masta, Susan E.; Boore, Jeffrey L.

    2004-01-31

    We sequenced the entire mitochondrial genome of the jumping spider Habronattus oregonensis of the arachnid order Araneae (Arthropoda: Chelicerata). A number of unusual features distinguish this genome from other chelicerate and arthropod mitochondrial genomes. Most of the transfer RNA gene sequences are greatly reduced in size and cannot be folded into typical cloverleaf-shaped secondary structures. At least nine of the tRNA sequences lack the potential to form TYC arm stem pairings, and instead are inferred to have TV-replacement loops. Furthermore, sequences that could encode the 3' aminoacyl acceptor stems in at least 10 tRNAs appear to be lacking, because fully paired acceptor stems are not possible and because the downstream sequences instead encode adjacent genes. Hence, these appear to be among the smallest known tRNA genes. We postulate that an RNA editing mechanism must exist to restore the 3' aminoacyl acceptor stems in order to allow the tRNAs to function. At least seven tRN As are rearranged with respect to the chelicerate Limulus polyphemus, although the arrangement of the protein-coding genes is identical. Most mitochondrial protein-coding genes of H. oregonensis have ATN as initiation codons, as commonly found in arthropod mtDNAs, but cytochrome oxidase subunit 2 and 3 genes apparently use UUG as an initiation codon. Finally, many of the gene sequences overlap one another and are truncated. This 14,381 bp genome, the first mitochondrial genome of a spider yet sequenced, is one of the smallest arthropod mitochondrial genomes known. We suggest that post transcriptional RNA editing can likely maintain function of the tRNAs while permitting the accumulation of mutations that would otherwise be deleterious. Such mechanisms may have allowed for the minimization of the spider mitochondrial genome.

  15. Using Next-Generation Sequencing to Contrast the Diet and Explore Pest-Reduction Services of Sympatric Bird Species in Macadamia Orchards in Australia

    PubMed Central

    Crisol-Martínez, Eduardo; Moreno-Moyano, Laura T.; Wormington, Kevin R.; Brown, Philip H.; Stanley, Dragana

    2016-01-01

    Worldwide, avian communities inhabiting agro-ecosystems are threatened as a consequence of agricultural intensification. Unravelling their ecological role is essential to focus conservation efforts. Dietary analysis can elucidate bird-insect interactions and expose avian pest-reduction services, thus supporting avian conservation. In this study, we used next-generation sequencing to analyse the dietary arthropod contents of 11 sympatric bird species foraging in macadamia orchards in eastern Australia. Across all species and based on arthropod DNA sequence similarities ≥98% with records in the Barcode of Life Database, 257 operational taxonomy units were assigned to 8 orders, 40 families, 90 genera and 89 species. These taxa included 15 insect pests, 5 of which were macadamia pests. Among the latter group, Nezara viridula (Pentatomidae; green vegetable bug), considered a major pest, was present in 23% of all faecal samples collected. Results also showed that resource partitioning in this system is low, as most bird species shared large proportion of their diets by feeding primarily on lepidopteran, dipteran and arachnids. Dietary composition differed between some species, most likely because of differences in foraging behaviour. Overall, this study reached a level of taxonomic resolution never achieved before in the studied species, thus contributing to a significant improvement in the avian ecological knowledge. Our results showed that bird communities prey upon economically important pests in macadamia orchards. This study set a precedent by exploring avian pest-reduction services using next-generation sequencing, which could contribute to the conservation of avian communities and their natural habitats in agricultural systems. PMID:26930484

  16. Insects and allies associated with bromeliads: a review

    PubMed Central

    Frank, J. H.; Lounibos, L. P.

    2009-01-01

    Summary Bromeliads are a Neotropical plant family (Bromeliaceae) with about 2,900 described species. They vary considerably in architecture. Many impound water in their inner leaf axils to form phytotelmata (plant pools), providing habitat for terrestrial arthropods with aquatic larvae, while their outer axils provide terraria for an assemblage of fully terrestrial arthropods. Many bromeliads are epiphytic. Dominant terrestrial arthropods with aquatic larvae inhabiting bromeliad phytotelmata are typically larvae of Diptera, of which at least 16 families have been reported, but in some circumstances are Coleoptera, of which only three families have been reported. Other groups include crabs and the insect orders Odonata, Plecoptera, and Trichoptera, plus Hemiptera with adults active on the water surface. The hundreds of arthropod species are detritivores or predators and do not harm their host plants. Many of them are specialists to this habitat. Terrestrial arthropods with terrestrial larvae inhabiting bromeliad terraria include many more arachnid and insect orders, but relatively few specialists to this habitat. They, too, are detritivores or predators. Arthropod herbivores, especially Curculionidae (Coleoptera) and Lepidoptera, consume leaves, stems, flowers, pollen, and roots of bromeliads. Some herbivores consume nectar, and some of these and other arthropods provide pollination and even seed-dispersal. Ants have complex relationships with bromeliads, a few being herbivores, some guarding the plants from herbivory, and some merely nesting in bromeliad terraria. A few serve as food for carnivorous bromeliads, which also consume other terrestrial insects. Bromeliads are visited by far more species of arthropods than breed in them. This is especially notable during dry seasons, when bromeliads provide moist refugia. PMID:20209047

  17. A New theraphosid Spider Toxin Causes Early Insect Cell Death by Necrosis When Expressed In Vitro during Recombinant Baculovirus Infection

    PubMed Central

    Ardisson-Araújo, Daniel Mendes Pereira; Morgado, Fabrício Da Silva; Schwartz, Elisabeth Ferroni; Corzo, Gerardo; Ribeiro, Bergmann Morais

    2013-01-01

    Baculoviruses are the most studied insect viruses in the world and are used for biological control of agricultural and forest insect pests. They are also used as versatile vectors for expression of heterologous proteins. One of the major problems of their use as biopesticides is their slow speed to kill insects. Thus, to address this shortcoming, insect-specific neurotoxins from arachnids have been introduced into the baculovirus genome solely aiming to improve its virulence. In this work, an insecticide-like toxin gene was obtained from a cDNA derived from the venom glands of the theraphosid spider Brachypelma albiceps. The mature form of the peptide toxin (called Ba3) has a high content of basic amino acid residues, potential for three possible disulfide bonds, and a predicted three-stranded β-sheetDifferent constructions of the gene were engineered for recombinant baculovirus Autographa californica multiple nuclepolyhedrovirus (AcMNPV) expression. Five different forms of Ba3 were assessed; (1) the full-length sequence, (2) the pro-peptide and mature region, (3) only the mature region, and the mature region fused to an (4) insect or a (5) virus-derived signal peptide were inserted separately into the genome of the baculovirus. All the recombinant viruses induced cell death by necrosis earlier in infection relative to a control virus lacking the toxin gene. However, the recombinant virus containing the mature portion of the toxin gene induced a faster cell death than the other recombinants. We found that the toxin construct with the signal peptide and/or pro-peptide regions delayed the necrosis phenotype. When infected cells were subjected to ultrastructural analysis, the cells showed loss of plasma membrane integrity and structural changes in mitochondria before death. Our results suggest this use of baculovirus is a potential tool to help understand or to identify the effect of insect-specific toxic peptides when produced during infection of insect cells. PMID

  18. Using Next-Generation Sequencing to Contrast the Diet and Explore Pest-Reduction Services of Sympatric Bird Species in Macadamia Orchards in Australia.

    PubMed

    Crisol-Martínez, Eduardo; Moreno-Moyano, Laura T; Wormington, Kevin R; Brown, Philip H; Stanley, Dragana

    2016-01-01

    Worldwide, avian communities inhabiting agro-ecosystems are threatened as a consequence of agricultural intensification. Unravelling their ecological role is essential to focus conservation efforts. Dietary analysis can elucidate bird-insect interactions and expose avian pest-reduction services, thus supporting avian conservation. In this study, we used next-generation sequencing to analyse the dietary arthropod contents of 11 sympatric bird species foraging in macadamia orchards in eastern Australia. Across all species and based on arthropod DNA sequence similarities ≥98% with records in the Barcode of Life Database, 257 operational taxonomy units were assigned to 8 orders, 40 families, 90 genera and 89 species. These taxa included 15 insect pests, 5 of which were macadamia pests. Among the latter group, Nezara viridula (Pentatomidae; green vegetable bug), considered a major pest, was present in 23% of all faecal samples collected. Results also showed that resource partitioning in this system is low, as most bird species shared large proportion of their diets by feeding primarily on lepidopteran, dipteran and arachnids. Dietary composition differed between some species, most likely because of differences in foraging behaviour. Overall, this study reached a level of taxonomic resolution never achieved before in the studied species, thus contributing to a significant improvement in the avian ecological knowledge. Our results showed that bird communities prey upon economically important pests in macadamia orchards. This study set a precedent by exploring avian pest-reduction services using next-generation sequencing, which could contribute to the conservation of avian communities and their natural habitats in agricultural systems. PMID:26930484

  19. Homology of head sclerites in Burgess Shale euarthropods.

    PubMed

    Ortega-Hernández, Javier

    2015-06-15

    The Cambrian fossil record of euarthropods (extant arachnids, myriapods, crustaceans, hexapods) has played a major role in understanding the origins of these successful animals and indicates that early ancestors underwent an evolutionary transition from soft-bodied taxa (lobopodians) to more familiar sclerotized forms with jointed appendages [1-3]. Recent advances in paleoneurology and developmental biology show that this major transformation is reflected by substantial changes in the head region of early euarthropods, as informed by the segmental affinity of the cephalic appendages [1, 4-6]. However, data on the implications of this reorganization for non-appendicular exoskeletal structures are lacking, given the difficulty of inferring the precise segmental affinities of these features. Here, I report neurological remains associated with the stalked eyes and "anterior sclerite" in the (middle Cambrian) Burgess Shale euarthropods Helmetia expansa and Odaraia alata and provide evidence that these features are associated with nerve traces originating from the anterior brain region, the protocerebrum. The position of the protocerebral ganglia in exceptionally preserved Cambrian euarthropods indicates the homology of the anterior sclerite in extinct groups (e.g., fuxianhuiids, bivalved forms, artiopodans [7, 8]) and allows new comparisons with the dorsal cephalic plate of radiodontans, large nektonic predators whose anterior segmental organization bears fundamental similarities to that of Paleozoic lobopodians [1, 6, 9, 10]. These observations allow reconstruction of the segmental architecture of the head region in the earliest sclerotized euarthropods and demonstrate the deep homology between exoskeletal features in an evolutionary continuum of taxa with distinct types of body organization. PMID:25959966

  20. Diet composition and terrestrial prey selection of the Laysan teal on Laysan Island

    USGS Publications Warehouse

    Reynolds, M.H.; Slotterback, J.W.; Walters, J.R.

    2006-01-01

    The Laysan teal (Anas laysanensis) is an endangered dabbling duck endemic to the Hawaiian Archipelago but currently restricted to a single breeding population on Laysan Island. We studied its diet using fecal analysis and behavioral observations. Laysan teal fecal samples (N=118) contained prey items in 15 primary prey categories with a mean of 2.9 (range 0-7) taxa per sample. Sixty-two of these fecal samples were quantified with 2,270 prey items identified (mean items per sample 37; range 0-205). Based on fecal analysis and behavioral observations, we learned that the Laysan teal is not strictly a macroinsectivore as previously reported, but consumed seeds, succulent leaves, and algae, in addition to adult and larval diptera, ants, lepidoptera, coleoptera, and Artemia. We compared abundance of invertebrates from two terrestrial foraging substrates, soil and standing vegetation, to the abundance of invertebrate prey items counted in fecal samples collected from these habitats for the same period. In the soil substrate, Laysan teal selected two of the most abundant invertebrates, lepidoptera larvae and coleoptera. In the standing vegetation, Laysan teal selected the most abundant taxa: coleoptera. Amphipods were consumed in proportion to their abundance, and small gastropods (Tornatellides sp.), isopods, and arachnids were avoided or were identified in fecal matter in disproportion to their abundance in the foraging habitat. We compared fecal composition of samples collected in aquatic and terrestrial habitats and detected significant differences in samples' species compositions. The conservation implications of the adult Laysan teal's diet are positive, since results indicate that the Laysan teal are opportunistic insectivores, and exhibit dietary flexibility that includes seeds and other food. Dietary flexibility improves the possibility of successfully reestablishing populations on other predator-free islands.

  1. Higher-level molecular phylogeny of the water mites (Acariformes: Prostigmata: Parasitengonina: Hydrachnidiae).

    PubMed

    Dabert, Miroslawa; Proctor, Heather; Dabert, Jacek

    2016-08-01

    With nearly 6000 named species, water mites (Hydrachnidiae) represent the largest group of arachnids to have invaded and extensively diversified in freshwater habitats. Water mites together with three other lineages (the terrestrial Erythraiae and Trombidiae, and aquatic Stygothrombiae), make up the hyporder Parasitengonina, which is characterized by having parasitic larvae and predatory nymphs and adults. Relationships between the Hydrachnidiae and other members of the Parasitengonina are unclear, as are relationships among the major lineages of water mites. Monophyly of water mites has been asserted, with the possible exception of the morphologically distinctive Hydrovolzioidea. Here we infer the phylogeny of water mites using multiple molecular markers and including representatives of all superfamilies of Hydrachnidiae and of almost all other Parasitengonina. Our results support a monophyletic Parasitengonina including Trombidiae, Stygothrombiae, and Hydrachnidiae. A monophyletic Hydrachnidiae, including Hydrovolzioidea, is strongly supported. Terrestrial Parasitengonina do not form a monophyletic sister group to water mites. Stygothrombiae is close to water mites but is not nested within this clade. Water mites appear to be derived from ancestors close to Stygothrombiae or the erythraoid group Calyptostomatoidea; however, this relationship is not clear because of extremely short branches in this part of the parasitengonine tree. We recovered with strong support all commonly accepted water mite superfamilies except for Hydryphantoidea, which is clearly paraphyletic. Our data support the previously proposed clades Protohydrachnidia (Hydrovolzioidea and Eylaoidea), Euhydrachnidia (all remaining superfamilies), and the euhydrachnid subclade Neohydrachnidia (Lebertioidea, Hydrachnoidea, Hygrobatoidea, and Arrenuroidea). We found that larval leg structure and locomotory behavior are strongly congruent with the molecular phylogeny. Other morphological and behavioral

  2. Biochemical and molecular characterization of the venom from the Cuban scorpion Rhopalurus junceus.

    PubMed

    García-Gómez, B I; Coronas, F I V; Restano-Cassulini, R; Rodríguez, R R; Possani, L D

    2011-07-01

    This communication describes the first general biochemical, molecular and functional characterization of the venom from the Cuban blue scorpion Rhopalurus junceus, which is often used as a natural product for anti-cancer therapy in Cuba. The soluble venom of this arachnid is not toxic to mice, injected intraperitoneally at doses up to 200 μg/20 g body weight, but it is deadly to insects at doses of 10 μg per animal. The venom causes typical alpha and beta-effects on Na+ channels, when assayed using patch-clamp techniques in neuroblastoma cells in vitro. It also affects K+ currents conducted by ERG (ether-a-go-go related gene) channels. The soluble venom was shown to display phospholipase, hyaluronidase and anti-microbial activities. High performance liquid chromatography of the soluble venom can separate at least 50 components, among which are peptides lethal to crickets. Four such peptides were isolated to homogeneity and their molecular masses and N-terminal amino acid sequence were determined. The major component (RjAa12f) was fully sequenced by Edman degradation. It contains 64 amino acid residues and four disulfide bridges, similar to other known scorpion toxins. A cDNA library prepared from the venomous glands of one scorpion allowed cloning 18 genes that code for peptides of the venom, including RjA12f and eleven other closely related genes. Sequence analyses and phylogenetic reconstruction of the amino acid sequences deduced from the cloned genes showed that this scorpion contains sodium channel like toxin sequences clearly segregated into two monophyletic clusters. Considering the complex set of effects on Na+ currents verified here, this venom certainly warrant further investigation. PMID:21605585

  3. Predatory Ground Beetles (Insecta: Coleoptera: Carabidae) of the Gaoligong Mountain Region of Western Yunnan Province, China: the Tribe Cyclosomini

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cueva-Dabkoski, M.; Kavanaugh, D.

    2013-12-01

    Between 1998 and 2007, the California Academy of Sciences (CAS) was the lead institution in a multi-national, multi-disciplinary biodiversity inventory project in the Gaoligong Shan region (GLGS) in the Yunnan province of China. The project surveyed the species diversity of both higher plants and bryophytes, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals and selected groups of arachnids and insects. The GLGS of China is one of the most biodiverse areas in all of Asia, yet it is also very poorly sampled and in great threat from increasing human activities in the region. CAS's biodiversity inventory project there has increased the number of carabid species known from just 50 to more than 550 species, an eleven-fold increase. The task that remains is to identify all of those 500 additional species and describe any that are new to science. This project is part of that larger biodiversity survey. Our objective was to identify and/or describe carabid beetles of the tribe Cyclosomini represented by nearly a hundred specimens collected in the GLSG. Among those specimens, six morphospecies were identified - one belonging to the genus Cyclosomus Latreille 1829, and the other five belonging to the genus Tetragonoderus Dejean 1829. Following this initial identification process, a list of known distributions of taxa in both genera was assembled to determine which described species to consider for comparative work. Original descriptions were then located for candidate species with known distributions in or near the GLGS; and these are being used now in morphological comparison of specimens. Type specimens for each of the candidate species have been requested from various academic institutions, and morphological comparisons with these types are underway. Morphological characteristics being examined include body proportions and overall shape, color of appendages, color and shape of pronotum, elytral color patterns, and shape and internal structure of male genitalia.

  4. Transcriptome Analysis of the Central and Peripheral Nervous Systems of the Spider Cupiennius salei Reveals Multiple Putative Cys-Loop Ligand Gated Ion Channel Subunits and an Acetylcholine Binding Protein.

    PubMed

    Torkkeli, Päivi H; Liu, Hongxia; French, Andrew S

    2015-01-01

    Invertebrates possess a diverse collection of pentameric Cys-loop ligand gated ion channel (LGIC) receptors whose molecular structures, evolution and relationships to mammalian counterparts have been intensely investigated in several clinically and agriculturally important species. These receptors are targets for a variety of control agents that may also harm beneficial species. However, little is known about Cys-loop receptors in spiders, which are important natural predators of insects. We assembled de novo transcriptomes from the central and peripheral nervous systems of the Central American wandering spider Cupiennius salei, a model species for neurophysiological, behavioral and developmental studies. We found 15 Cys-loop receptor subunits that are expected to form anion or cation permeable channels, plus a putative acetylcholine binding protein (AChBP) that has only previously been reported in molluscs and one annelid. We used phylogenetic and sequence analysis to compare the spider subunits to homologous receptors in other species and predicted the 3D structures of each protein using the I-Tasser server. The quality of homology models improved with increasing sequence identity to the available high-resolution templates. We found that C. salei has orthologous γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), GluCl, pHCl, HisCl and nAChα LGIC subunits to other arthropods, but some subgroups are specific to arachnids, or only to spiders. C. salei sequences were phylogenetically closest to gene fragments from the social spider, Stegodyphus mimosarum, indicating high conservation within the Araneomorphae suborder of spiders. C. salei sequences had similar ligand binding and transmembrane regions to other invertebrate and vertebrate LGICs. They also had motifs associated with high sensitivity to insecticides and antiparasitic agents such as fipronil, dieldrin and ivermectin. Development of truly selective control agents for pest species will require information about the molecular

  5. Transcriptome Analysis of the Central and Peripheral Nervous Systems of the Spider Cupiennius salei Reveals Multiple Putative Cys-Loop Ligand Gated Ion Channel Subunits and an Acetylcholine Binding Protein

    PubMed Central

    Torkkeli, Päivi H.; Liu, Hongxia; French, Andrew S.

    2015-01-01

    Invertebrates possess a diverse collection of pentameric Cys-loop ligand gated ion channel (LGIC) receptors whose molecular structures, evolution and relationships to mammalian counterparts have been intensely investigated in several clinically and agriculturally important species. These receptors are targets for a variety of control agents that may also harm beneficial species. However, little is known about Cys-loop receptors in spiders, which are important natural predators of insects. We assembled de novo transcriptomes from the central and peripheral nervous systems of the Central American wandering spider Cupiennius salei, a model species for neurophysiological, behavioral and developmental studies. We found 15 Cys-loop receptor subunits that are expected to form anion or cation permeable channels, plus a putative acetylcholine binding protein (AChBP) that has only previously been reported in molluscs and one annelid. We used phylogenetic and sequence analysis to compare the spider subunits to homologous receptors in other species and predicted the 3D structures of each protein using the I-Tasser server. The quality of homology models improved with increasing sequence identity to the available high-resolution templates. We found that C. salei has orthologous γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA), GluCl, pHCl, HisCl and nAChα LGIC subunits to other arthropods, but some subgroups are specific to arachnids, or only to spiders. C. salei sequences were phylogenetically closest to gene fragments from the social spider, Stegodyphus mimosarum, indicating high conservation within the Araneomorphae suborder of spiders. C. salei sequences had similar ligand binding and transmembrane regions to other invertebrate and vertebrate LGICs. They also had motifs associated with high sensitivity to insecticides and antiparasitic agents such as fipronil, dieldrin and ivermectin. Development of truly selective control agents for pest species will require information about the molecular

  6. Characterization of soil microarthropod communities in Italian beech forest

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Conti, F. D.; Menta, C.; Piovesan, G.

    2009-04-01

    The contribution of soil organisms to ecosystem functions such as decomposition, nutrient recycling and the maintenance of physico-chemical properties is well recognised, as is the fact that soil fauna plays an important role in the formation and stabilisation of soil structure. The diversity of soil fauna includes a quarter of described living species, the majority of which are insects and arachnids. Soil fauna plays an essential role in forests and agro-ecosystems by maintaining their functionality and productivity. The aim of this study is to evaluate the biodiversity of soil microarthropods communities in different Italian beech forest. Particular attention is paid to the role of fossorial microarthropods in the maintenance of soil structure and in the organic matter movements. Three beech forests are studied, two located in the North and one in the Centre of Italy. Microarthropods are extracted from litter and soil with a Berlese-Tullgren funnel, identified to order level (class level for myriapods) and counted using a microscope. Relative order abundance and biodiversity are expressed using the Shannon-Weaver diversity index (H) and evenness index (J). Soil biological quality is expressed using the QBS-ar index and Acari/Collembola ratio. The results show a richness of microarthropods: several orders, till 19 different groups, are determined and identified. Acari and collembola are the main represented taxa and, especially in litter samples, pseudoscorpions, different specimens of diplopods (or millipedes) and chilopods (centipedes) are found. Thus the presence in particular of diplopods offers the possibility of studying fossorial microarthropods functions in detail. Furthermore, both in soil and in litter samples, adapted groups are recognized, such as pauropods, symphyla, proturans and diplurans, with specific morphological characteristics that these species suited to soil habitat. Therefore they attest a good level of soil quality and high natural value

  7. Improved tRNA prediction in the American house dust mite reveals widespread occurrence of extremely short minimal tRNAs in acariform mites

    PubMed Central

    2009-01-01

    Background Atypical tRNAs are functional minimal tRNAs, lacking either the D- or T-arm. They are significantly shorter than typical cloverleaf tRNAs. Widespread occurrence of atypical tRNAs was first demonstrated for secernentean nematodes and later in various arachnids. Evidence started to accumulate that tRNAs of certain acariform mites are even shorter than the minimal tRNAs of nematodes, raising the possibility that tRNAs lacking both D- and T-arms might exist in these organisms. The presence of cloverleaf tRNAs in acariform mites, particularly in the house dust mite genus Dermatophagoides, is still disputed. Results Mitochondrial tRNAs of Dermatophagoides farinae are minimal, atypical tRNAs lacking either the T- or D-arm. The size (49-62, 54.4 ± 2.86 nt) is significantly (p = 0.019) smaller than in Caenorhabditis elegans (53-63, 56.3 ± 2.30 nt), a model minimal tRNA taxon. The shortest tRNA (49 nt) in Dermatophagoides is approaching the length of the shortest known tRNAs (45-49 nt) described in other acariform mites. The D-arm is absent in these tRNAs, and the inferred T-stem is small (2-3 bp) and thermodynamically unstable, suggesting that it may not exist in reality. The discriminator nucleotide is probably not encoded and is added postranscriptionally in many Dermatophagoides tRNAs. Conclusions Mitochondrial tRNAs of acariform mites are largely atypical, non-cloverleaf tRNAs. Among them, the shortest known tRNAs with no D-arm and a short and unstable T-arm can be inferred. While our study confirmed seven tRNAs in Dermatophagoides by limited EST data, further experimental evidence is needed to demonstrate extremely small and unusual tRNAs in acariform mites. PMID:20003349

  8. Purification and characterization of a hyaluronidase from venom of the spider Vitalius dubius (Araneae, Theraphosidae)

    PubMed Central

    2014-01-01

    Background Venom hyaluronidase (Hyase) contributes to the diffusion of venom from the inoculation site. In this work, we purified and characterized Hyase from the venom of Vitalius dubius (Araneae, Theraphosidae), a large theraphosid found in southeastern Brazil. Venom obtained by electrical stimulation of adult male and female V. dubius was initially fractionated by gel filtration on a Superdex® 75 column. Active fractions were pooled and applied to a heparin-sepharose affinity column. The proteins were eluted with a linear NaCl gradient. Results Active fractions were pooled and assessed for purity by SDS-PAGE and RP-HPLC. The physicochemical tests included optimum pH, heat stability, presence of isoforms, neutralization by flavonoids and assessment of commercial antivenoms. Hyase was purified and presented a specific activity of 148 turbidity-reducing units (TRU)/mg (venom: 36 TRU/mg; purification factor of ~4). Hyase displayed a molecular mass of 43 kDa by SDS-PAGE. Zymography in hyaluronic-acid-containing gels indicated an absence of enzyme isoforms. The optimum pH was 4-5, with highest activity at 37°C. Hyase was stable up to 60°C; but its activity was lost at higher temperatures and maintained after several freeze-thaw cycles. The NaCl concentration (up to 1 M) did not influence activity. Hyase had greater action towards hyaluronic acid compared to chondroitin sulfate, and was completely neutralized by polyvalent antiarachnid sera, but not by caterpillar, scorpion or snakes antivenoms. Conclusion The neutralization by arachnid but not scorpion antivenom indicates that this enzyme shares antigenic epitopes with similar enzymes in other spider venoms. The biochemical properties of this Hyase are comparable to others described. PMID:24495716

  9. Characterization of the immune response of domestic fowl following immunization with proteins extracted from Dermanyssus gallinae.

    PubMed

    Harrington, David; Din, Hatem Mohi El; Guy, Jonathan; Robinson, Karen; Sparagano, Olivier

    2009-03-23

    Dermanyssus gallinae is the most significant ectoparasite of European poultry egg laying production systems due to high costs of control and associated production losses as well as adverse effects on bird welfare. In this study, soluble proteins were extracted from unfed D. gallinae (DGE) using a urea-based detergent and ultra-filtration, passed through a 0.22 microm filter and blended aseptically with adjuvant. One group of laying hens was immunized with DGE and adjuvant (Montanide ISA 50 V) whilst another group (Control) received physiological saline and adjuvant. All birds were immunized on two occasions, 21 days apart. Antibody response to immunization was determined by ELISA and western blotting using immunoglobulins (Igs) extracted from egg yolk. DGE immunization of hens resulted in a significant (P<0.05) IgY response compared to controls, although there was no significant difference in IgM response between treatments. A number of proteins were identified by western blotting using IgY antibodies from DGE immunized birds, most prominently at 40 and 230kDa. Analysis of proteins from approximately corresponding bands on SDS-PAGE confirmed the identity of tropomyosin, whilst other proteins showed high sequence homology with myosin and actin from other arachnid and insect species. Immunization of hens with DGE resulted in a 50.6% increase in mite mortality (P<0.001) 17h after feeding when tested by an in vitro mite feeding model. Data in this study demonstrate that somatic antigens from D. gallinae can be used to stimulate a protective immune response in laying hens. Further work is needed to identify other proteins of interest that could confer higher protection against D. gallinae, as well as optimization of the vaccination and in vitro testing protocol. PMID:19091480

  10. Bacterial origin of a diverse family of UDP-glycosyltransferase genes in the Tetranychus urticae genome.

    PubMed

    Ahn, Seung-Joon; Dermauw, Wannes; Wybouw, Nicky; Heckel, David G; Van Leeuwen, Thomas

    2014-07-01

    UDP-glycosyltransferases (UGTs) catalyze the conjugation of a variety of small lipophilic molecules with uridine diphosphate (UDP) sugars, altering them into more water-soluble metabolites. Thereby, UGTs play an important role in the detoxification of xenobiotics and in the regulation of endobiotics. Recently, the genome sequence was reported for the two-spotted spider mite, Tetranychus urticae, a polyphagous herbivore damaging a number of agricultural crops. Although various gene families implicated in xenobiotic metabolism have been documented in T. urticae, UGTs so far have not. We identified 80 UGT genes in the T. urticae genome, the largest number of UGT genes in a metazoan species reported so far. Phylogenetic analysis revealed that lineage-specific gene expansions increased the diversity of the T. urticae UGT repertoire. Genomic distribution, intron-exon structure and structural motifs in the T. urticae UGTs were also described. In addition, expression profiling after host-plant shifts and in acaricide resistant lines supported an important role for UGT genes in xenobiotic metabolism. Expanded searches of UGTs in other arachnid species (Subphylum Chelicerata), including a spider, a scorpion, two ticks and two predatory mites, unexpectedly revealed the complete absence of UGT genes. However, a centipede (Subphylum Myriapoda) and a water flea and a crayfish (Subphylum Crustacea) contain UGT genes in their genomes similar to insect UGTs, suggesting that the UGT gene family might have been lost early in the Chelicerata lineage and subsequently re-gained in the tetranychid mites. Sequence similarity of T. urticae UGTs and bacterial UGTs and their phylogenetic reconstruction suggest that spider mites acquired UGT genes from bacteria by horizontal gene transfer. Our findings show a unique evolutionary history of the T. urticae UGT gene family among other arthropods and provide important clues to its functions in relation to detoxification and thereby host

  11. Fine structure of the male genital system of the predatory mite Rhagidia halophila (Rhagidiidae, Prostigmata, Actinotrichida).

    PubMed

    Alberti, Gerd; Ehrnsberger, Rainer

    2015-07-01

    The male genital system of the actinotrichid mite Rhagidia halophila is described and compared with other mites and arachnids. The large testes are composed of germinal and glandular parts and produce numerous small sperm cells. The glandular parts are connected via a testicular bridge. Spermiogenesis occurs in cysts containing spermatids in equal stages of development. Cysts of spermatids are embedded in huge somatic cells. The nuclei of the spermatids loose their envelope. Mature sperm cells are simple exhibiting a ring-shaped chromatin body and lacking an acrosomal complex. They are most similar to the sperm cells of the related mite Linopodes motatorius. The spermatopositor contains the ejaculatory duct divided into a dorsal channel and a ventral channel that are connected via a narrow passage. At its distal end, the spermatopositor is divided into three eugenital lips. The function of the spermatopositor during deposition of the peculiar thread-like spermatophores is discussed. Details of the sensilla of the spermatopositor and the progenital lips are reported. The genital papillae located on the inner side of the progenital lips exhibit characteristics of cells performing transport of ions and/or water. The results confirm the overall similarity of actinotrichid genital systems, which is profoundly different from that of anactinotrichid mites. With reference to other Arachnida it is corroborated that testes and sperm structure of Actinotrichida are most similar to that of Solifugae. However, synapomorphies between sperm cells of Rhagidia and Solifugae that could suggest a closer relationship between these two taxa as was suggested in earlier studies were not recognizable. On the contrary, the sperm cells of Rh. halophila being devoid of an acrosomal complex appeared to be more apomorphic than those of many other actinotrichid mites as well as Solifugae. PMID:25845733

  12. Genome Sequencing of the Phytoseiid Predatory Mite Metaseiulus occidentalis Reveals Completely Atomized Hox Genes and Superdynamic Intron Evolution.

    PubMed

    Hoy, Marjorie A; Waterhouse, Robert M; Wu, Ke; Estep, Alden S; Ioannidis, Panagiotis; Palmer, William J; Pomerantz, Aaron F; Simão, Felipe A; Thomas, Jainy; Jiggins, Francis M; Murphy, Terence D; Pritham, Ellen J; Robertson, Hugh M; Zdobnov, Evgeny M; Gibbs, Richard A; Richards, Stephen

    2016-01-01

    Metaseiulus occidentalis is an eyeless phytoseiid predatory mite employed for the biological control of agricultural pests including spider mites. Despite appearances, these predator and prey mites are separated by some 400 Myr of evolution and radically different lifestyles. We present a 152-Mb draft assembly of the M. occidentalis genome: Larger than that of its favored prey, Tetranychus urticae, but considerably smaller than those of many other chelicerates, enabling an extremely contiguous and complete assembly to be built-the best arachnid to date. Aided by transcriptome data, genome annotation cataloged 18,338 protein-coding genes and identified large numbers of Helitron transposable elements. Comparisons with other arthropods revealed a particularly dynamic and turbulent genomic evolutionary history. Its genes exhibit elevated molecular evolution, with strikingly high numbers of intron gains and losses, in stark contrast to the deer tick Ixodes scapularis Uniquely among examined arthropods, this predatory mite's Hox genes are completely atomized, dispersed across the genome, and it encodes five copies of the normally single-copy RNA processing Dicer-2 gene. Examining gene families linked to characteristic biological traits of this tiny predator provides initial insights into processes of sex determination, development, immune defense, and how it detects, disables, and digests its prey. As the first reference genome for the Phytoseiidae, and for any species with the rare sex determination system of parahaploidy, the genome of the western orchard predatory mite improves genomic sampling of chelicerates and provides invaluable new resources for functional genomic analyses of this family of agriculturally important mites. PMID:26951779

  13. Sulfakinin is an important regulator of digestive processes in the migratory locust, Locusta migratoria.

    PubMed

    Zels, Sven; Dillen, Senne; Crabbé, Katleen; Spit, Jornt; Nachman, Ronald J; Vanden Broeck, Jozef

    2015-06-01

    Sulfakinin (SK) is a sulfated insect neuropeptide that is best known for its function as a satiety factor. It displays structural and functional similarities with the vertebrate peptides gastrin and cholecystokinin. Peptidomic studies in multiple insects, crustaceans and arachnids have revealed the widespread occurrence of SK in the arthropod phylum. Multiple studies in hemi- and holometabolous insects revealed the pleiotropic nature of this neuropeptide: in addition to its activity as a satiety factor, SK was also reported to affect muscle contraction, digestive enzyme release, odor preference, aggression and metabolism. However, the main site of action seems to be the digestive system of insects. In this study, we have investigated whether SK can intervene in the control of nutrient uptake and digestion in the migratory locust (Locusta migratoria). We provide evidence that sulfakinin reduces food uptake in this species. Furthermore, we discovered that SK has very pronounced effects on the main digestive enzyme secreting parts of the locust gut. It effectively reduced digestive enzyme secretion from both the midgut and gastric caeca. SK injection also elicited a reduction in absorbance and proteolytic activity of the gastric caeca contents. The characteristic sulfation of the tyrosine residue is crucial for the observed effects on digestive enzyme secretion. In an attempt to provide potential leads for the development of peptidomimetic compounds based on SK, we also tested two mimetic analogs of the natural peptide ligand in the digestive enzyme secretion assay. These analogs were able to mimic the effect of the natural SK, but their effects were milder. The results of this study provide new insights into the action of SK on the digestive system in (hemimetabolous) insects. PMID:25846060

  14. Fossil moss mites (Arthropoda: Oribatida): an introduction to their morphology and potential for Quaternary paleoecological interpretation

    SciTech Connect

    Erickson, J.M.

    1985-01-01

    Although attention has been called to their presence as fossils in Quaternary lake and bog deposits a number of times, the moss mites (Arthropoda; Oribatida) have never been given serious attention during paleoecological work. This study is the first to demonstrate the quality and quantity of oribatid fossil material preserved in post-glacial lacustrine sediments. Oribatids have been identified from Jurassic rocks and from Tertiary ambers in Mexico and the Baltic Region. They are sclerotized, chelicerate, arachnids (Acari) which possess many features that make them readily identifiable from fossil material. Setae, tarsi, genital and anal plates, sensilla, notogastral pits and pores, and a wide variety of ornamentation are particularly useful. More than 5000 species in 700 genera occur worldwide. Most are less than 500..mu..m in size. Oribatids are often ecologically specific and may be assigned to restricted habitats. They do not fly and are thus unlikely to be found in sediments beyond their local ranges. Some species are lacustrine; many favor bog habitats. A large literature describes ecological preferences of extant species. More than 10,000 specimens of larval and adult mites have been taken from 72 samples of lake sediment, ranging from <14,700 to <2000 years in age. This report focuses on a dozen 10-gram samples which yielded more than 1300 specimens from 7 genera. Species of Hydrozetes and Limnozetes are abundant in lake sediments; these become rarer and are replaced in peats by a diverse fauna including species of Oripoda, Scapheremaeus, Sphaerozetes, Scheloribates, Magnobates(.), and unidentified taxa. Preservation of delicate setal hairs, genital plates and sensilla allows ready generic identification. SEM photomicrographs serve to illustrate the quality of preservation and the morphologically important features by way of introduction to this under-utilized group.

  15. Submicron-Chemical Speciation of Late Albian, Well-Preserved Fossil Samples from Tlayúa, the Mexican Solenhofen.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Marcus, M.; Fakra, S.; Tamura, N.; Alvarado-Ortega, J.; Espinosa-Arruberena, L.; Banfield, J.; Cervini-Silva, J.

    2007-12-01

    The Tlayúa slurry quarry constitutes the most important paleontological locality in the American continent, and constitutes the second most important locality in its genre worldwide. The importance of Tlayúa strives inderives from the fact that a great diversity of marine and terrestrial fossils in perfect state of preservation have been found, with ages surpassing 115 million yrs. Paleomagnetic and biostratigraphic determinations conducted in ammonites and belemnites indicate that the formation of the Tlayúa slurry dates back to the late Albian. One of the most accepted hypothesis for explaining Tlayúa's formation relies on the deposition of sediments and fauna on a shallow platform of a tropical sea. A similar geographic place is located in Solenhofen, Germany, where slurries have been exploited for more than 200 yrs with a production of approximately 500 species. Remarkably, in the Tepexi del Rio region alone for the past 20 yrs more than 5,000 fossil specimens representing more than 200 species have been collected alone. An The exceptional specimen preservation found in Tlayúa has been attributed to restricted circulation of water resulting in an anaerobic and/or hypersaline environment, coupled with the general absence of infaunal species. There were periods when the deposition site supported a rich planktontic community. Large quantities of calcareous ooze were produced, resulting in rapid burial of the organisms. The presence of diagnostic terrestrial and freshwater organisms, including arachnids, insects, lizards, and chelonians, along with typical marine fauna, suggests that Tlayúa lagoon had periodic freshwater inflow, in addition to the strong marine, lagoonal, and reefal influence. Some organisms were transported into the lagoon when the barrier was breached, probably during periods of heavy rains and hurricanes, or during high tides. Additionally, some fishes from Tlayua have been found to have affinities with recent families known to inhabit

  16. Characteristics and origin of organic matter and basal respiration of soils from Majella massif (Central Apennines, Italy)

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Basili, M.; Cioci, C.; Cocco, S.; Agnelli, A.; di Peco, D.; Ferraris, P.; Corti, G.

    2009-04-01

    The effects of the global climate change on the soil organic matter (SOM) are still open to debate. Many studies hypothesize an increase of the CO2 fluxes from the soil following the rise of air temperature, especially for the high latitude soils where the low temperatures have a protective effect on the SOM, holding the mineralization reactions back. We studied the feedback between soil and climate change in the Mediterranean environments, on patterned ground soils and soils developed from glacial lacustrine sediments found in the high-elevated areas (2500 m a.s.l.) of Majella massif (Central Apennines, Italy). Here, several profiles were opened and the soil described and sampled according to the recognized horizons. The samples were characterised according to the routine analyses and the SOM extracted according to the International Humic Substances Society protocol. The obtained humic and fulvic acids were characterised for elemental composition and by Fourier-transform infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy. Further, the basal respiration at 5°C, 20°C and 30°C for 20 days was determined on the samples collected from the superficial horizon of each soil. The extracted humic substances showed a particular composition, being mostly comprised of proteinaceous residues (amides II and III), polysaccarides, and esters and aliphatic compounds. This unusual chemical structure and the paucity of vegetation in the study area could support the hypothesis of a mainly soil animal origin of the SOM, probably due to residues of insects, arachnids and arthropods. In fact, the species belonging to these Orders are abundant in these ecosystems and, further, are often characterised by the presence of compounds, such as glycerine and glycoproteins, in their organic fluids that act as antifreezing systems. The basal respiration experiments indicated that the soil microbial community was active at 5°C, while at 20°C or 30°C rather no respiration occurred; further, after 20 days at both

  17. Effects of agricultural practices of three crops on the soil communities under Mediterranean conditions: field evaluation.

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Leitão, Sara; José Cerejeira, Maria; Abreu, Manuela; Sousa, José Paulo

    2014-05-01

    Sustainable agricultural production relies on soil communities as the main actors in key soil processes necessary to maintain sustainable soil functioning. Soil biodiversity influences soil physical and chemical characteristics and thus the sustainability of crop and agro-ecosystems functioning. Agricultural practices (e.g.: soil tillage, pesticides and fertilizer applications, irrigation) may affects negatively or positively soil biodiversity and abundances by modifying the relationships between organisms in the soil ecosystem. The present study aimed to study the influence of agricultural practices of three crops (potato, onion and maize) under Mediterranean climate conditions on soil macro- and mesofauna during their entire crop cycles. Effects on soil communities were assessed at a higher tier of environmental risk assessment comprising field testing of indigenous edaphic communities in a selected study-site located in a major agriculture region of Central Portugal, Ribatejo e Oeste, neighbouring protected wetlands. A reference site near the agricultural field site was selected as a Control site to compare the terrestrial communities' composition and variation along the crop cycle. The field soil and Control site soil are sandy loam soils. Crops irrigation was performed by center-pivot (automated sprinkler that rotates in a half a circle area) and by sprinklers. Soil macro- and mesofauna were collected at both sites (field and Control) using two methodologies through pitfall trapping and soil sampling. The community of soil macro- and mesofauna of the three crops field varied versus control site along the crops cycles. Main differences were due to arachnids, coleopterans, ants and adult Diptera presence and abundance. The feeding activity of soil fauna between control site and crop areas varied only for potato and onion crops vs. control site but not among crops. Concentration of pesticides residues in soil did not cause apparent negative effects on the soil

  18. The diversity and evolution of chelicerate hemocyanins

    PubMed Central

    2012-01-01

    Background Oxygen transport in the hemolymph of many arthropod species is facilitated by large copper-proteins referred to as hemocyanins. Arthropod hemocyanins are hexamers or oligomers of hexamers, which are characterized by a high O2 transport capacity and a high cooperativity, thereby enhancing O2 supply. Hemocyanin subunit sequences had been available from horseshoe crabs (Xiphosura) and various spiders (Araneae), but not from any other chelicerate taxon. To trace the evolution of hemocyanins and the emergence of the large hemocyanin oligomers, hemocyanin cDNA sequences were obtained from representatives of selected chelicerate classes. Results Hemocyanin subunits from a sea spider, a scorpion, a whip scorpion and a whip spider were sequenced. Hemocyanin has been lost in Opiliones, Pseudoscorpiones, Solifugae and Acari, which may be explained by the evolution of trachea (i.e., taxon Apulmonata). Bayesian phylogenetic analysis was used to reconstruct the evolution of hemocyanin subunits and a relaxed molecular clock approach was applied to date the major events. While the sea spider has a simple hexameric hemocyanin, four distinct subunit types evolved before Xiphosura and Arachnida diverged around 470 Ma ago, suggesting the existence of a 4 × 6mer at that time. Subsequently, independent gene duplication events gave rise to the other distinct subunits in each of the 8 × 6mer hemocyanin of Xiphosura and the 4 × 6mer of Arachnida. The hemocyanin sequences were used to infer the evolutionary history of chelicerates. The phylogenetic trees support a basal position of Pycnogonida, a sister group relationship of Xiphosura and Arachnida, and a sister group relationship of the whip scorpions and the whip spiders. Conclusion Formation of a complex hemocyanin oligomer commenced early in the evolution of euchelicerates. A 4 × 6mer hemocyanin consisting of seven subunit types is conserved in most arachnids since more than 400 Ma, although some entelegyne spiders

  19. Maternal transfer of inorganic mercury and methylmercury in aquatic and terrestrial arthropods.

    PubMed

    Saxton, Heidi J; Goodman, James R; Collins, Jeffrey N; Black, Frank J

    2013-11-01

    The transfer of mercury from females to their offspring plays an important role in mercury accumulation and toxicity during early development. To quantify the transfer of inorganic mercury and methylmercury from female arthropods to their eggs, the authors collected and analyzed brine shrimp (Artemia franciscana), wolf spiders (Alopecosa spp.), and their attached eggs from aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems at the Great Salt Lake, Utah, USA. Essentially all of the mercury in both the female brine shrimp and their eggs was methylmercury (94 ± 17% and 90 ± 21%, respectively). The brine shrimp eggs had methylmercury concentrations that were 84 ± 2% lower than in the females, reflecting the fact that females transferred 45 ± 4% of their total body mass but only 11 ± 3% of their methylmercury burden to their eggs. As a result of this sequestration, the concentration of methylmercury in the female brine shrimp increased by 62 ± 8% during egg formation. The percentage of the total mercury that was methylmercury in female wolf spiders (77 ± 21%) was similar to that in their egg masses (81 ± 19%), indicating similar maternal transfer efficiencies for inorganic mercury and methylmercury in these invertebrates. The concentration of inorganic mercury and methylmercury in the female spiders was the same as in their eggs. These arachnids transferred 48 ± 9% of their total body mass, 55 ± 13% of their inorganic mercury, and 50 ± 9% of their methylmercury to their egg masses. Thus, female wolf spiders do not have the ability to reduce the transfer of methylmercury to their eggs, nor does this process represent an important pathway for the depuration of mercury. The present study demonstrates that although some arthropods have mechanisms to minimize the transfer of methylmercury to their eggs and reduce the potential for mercury toxicity during early development, other arthropods do not. PMID:23939924

  20. Arthropod eyes: The early Cambrian fossil record and divergent evolution of visual systems.

    PubMed

    Strausfeld, Nicholas J; Ma, Xiaoya; Edgecombe, Gregory D; Fortey, Richard A; Land, Michael F; Liu, Yu; Cong, Peiyun; Hou, Xianguang

    2016-03-01

    evolution of sessile eyes equipped with optics typical of extant xiphosurans. Observations of fossil material, including that of trilobites and eurypterids, support the proposition that the ancestral compound eye was the apposition type. Cambrian arthropods include possible precursors of mandibulate eyes. The latter are the modified compound eyes, now sessile, and their underlying optic lobes exemplified by scutigeromorph chilopods, and the mobile stalked compound eyes and more elaborate optic lobes typifying Pancrustacea. Radical divergence from an ancestral apposition type is demonstrated by the evolution of chelicerate eyes, from doublet sessile-eyed stem-group taxa to special apposition eyes of xiphosurans, the compound eyes of eurypterids, and single-lens eyes of arachnids. Different eye types are discussed with respect to possible modes of life of the extinct species that possessed them, comparing these to extant counterparts and the types of visual centers the eyes might have served. PMID:26276096

  1. Mechanisms Involved in the Nociception Triggered by the Venom of the Armed Spider Phoneutria nigriventer

    PubMed Central

    Gewehr, Camila; Oliveira, Sara Marchesan; Rossato, Mateus Fortes; Trevisan, Gabriela; Dalmolin, Gerusa Duarte; Rigo, Flávia Karine; de Castro Júnior, Célio José; Cordeiro, Marta Nascimento; Ferreira, Juliano; Gomez, Marcus V.

    2013-01-01

    Background The frequency of accidental spider bites in Brazil is growing, and poisoning due to bites from the spider genus Phoneutria nigriventer is the second most frequent source of such accidents. Intense local pain is the major symptom reported after bites of P. nigriventer, although the mechanisms involved are still poorly understood. Therefore, the aim of this study was to identify the mechanisms involved in nociception triggered by the venom of Phoneutria nigriventer (PNV). Methodology/Principal Findings Twenty microliters of PNV or PBS was injected into the mouse paw (intraplantar, i.pl.). The time spent licking the injected paw was considered indicative of the level of nociception. I.pl. injection of PNV produced spontaneous nociception, which was reduced by arachnid antivenin (ArAv), local anaesthetics, opioids, acetaminophen and dipyrone, but not indomethacin. Boiling or dialysing the venom reduced the nociception induced by the venom. PNV-induced nociception is not dependent on glutamate or histamine receptors or on mast cell degranulation, but it is mediated by the stimulation of sensory fibres that contain serotonin 4 (5-HT4) and vanilloid receptors (TRPV1). We detected a kallikrein-like kinin-generating enzyme activity in tissue treated with PNV, which also contributes to nociception. Inhibition of enzymatic activity or administration of a receptor antagonist for kinin B2 was able to inhibit the nociception induced by PNV. PNV nociception was also reduced by the blockade of tetrodotoxin-sensitive Na+ channels, acid-sensitive ion channels (ASIC) and TRPV1 receptors. Conclusion/Significance Results suggest that both low- and high-molecular-weight toxins of PNV produce spontaneous nociception through direct or indirect action of kinin B2, TRPV1, 5-HT4 or ASIC receptors and voltage-dependent sodium channels present in sensory neurons but not in mast cells. Understanding the mechanisms involved in nociception caused by PNV are of interest not only for

  2. Reconstructing the diet of a 505-million-year-old arthropod: Sidneyia inexpectans from the Burgess Shale fauna.

    PubMed

    Zacaï, Axelle; Vannier, Jean; Lerosey-Aubril, Rudy

    2016-03-01

    The feeding ecology of the 505-million-year-old arthropod Sidneyia inexpectans from the middle Cambrian (Series 3, Stage 5) Burgess Shale fauna (British Columbia, Canada) is revealed by three lines of evidence: the structure of its digestive system, the fossilized contents of its gut and the functional anatomy of its appendages. The digestive tract of Sidneyia is straight, tubular and relatively narrow in the trunk region. It is enlarged into a pear-shaped area in the cephalic region and stretches notably to form a large pocket in the abdomen. The mouth is ventral, posteriorly directed and leads to the midgut via a short tubular structure interpreted as the oesophagus. Anteriorly, three pairs of glands with internal, branching tubular structures open into the digestive tract. These glands have equivalents in various Cambrian arthropod taxa (e.g. naraoiids) and modern arthropods. Their primary function was most likely to digest and assimilate food. The abdominal pocket of Sidneyia concentrates undigested skeletal elements and various residues. It is interpreted here as the functional analogue of the stercoral pocket of some extant terrestrial arachnids (e.g. Araneae, Solifugae), whose primary function is to store food residuals and excretory material until defecation. Analysis of the gut contents indicates that Sidneyia fed largely on small ptychopariid trilobites, brachiopods, possibly agnostids, worms and other undetermined animals. Sidneyia was primarily a durophagous carnivore with predatory and/or scavenging habits, feeding on small invertebrates that lived at the water-sediment interface. There is no evidence for selective feeding. Its food items (e.g. living prey or dead material) were grasped and manipulated ventrally by its anterior appendages, then macerated into ingestible fragments and conveyed to the mouth via the converging action of strong molar-like gnathobases. Digestion probably took place within the anterior midgut via enzymes secreted in the

  3. Inventory and assessment of foliar natural enemies of the soybean aphid (Hemiptera: Aphididae) in South Dakota.

    PubMed

    Hesler, Louis S

    2014-06-01

    Soybean aphid (Aphis glycines Matsumura) (Hemiptera: Aphididae) is a major pest of soybean in northern production regions of North America, and insecticides have been the primary management approach while alternative methods are developed. Knowledge of arthropod natural enemies and their impact on soybean aphid is critical for developing biological control as a management tool. Soybean is a major field crop in South Dakota, but information about its natural enemies and their impact on soybean aphid is lacking. Thus, this study was conducted in field plots in eastern South Dakota during July and August of 2004 and 2005 to characterize foliar-dwelling, arthropod natural enemies of soybean aphid, and it used exclusion techniques to determine impact of natural enemies and ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) on soybean aphid densities. In open field plots, weekly soybean aphid densities reached a plateau of several hundred aphids per plant in 2004, and peaked at roughly 400 aphids per plant in 2005. Despite these densities, a relatively high frequency of aphid-infested plants lacked arthropod natural enemies. Lady beetles (Coleoptera: Coccinellidae) were most abundant, peaking at 90 and 52% of all natural enemies sampled in respective years, and Harmonia axyridis Pallas was the most abundant lady beetle. Green lacewings (Neuroptera: Chrysopidae) were abundant in 2005, due mainly to large numbers of their eggs. Abundances of arachnids and coccinellid larvae correlated with soybean aphid densities each year, and chrysopid egg abundance was correlated with aphid density in 2005. Three-week cage treatments of artificially infested soybean plants in 2004 showed that noncaged plants had fewer soybean aphids than caged plants, but abundance of soybean aphid did not differ among open cages and ones that provided partial or total exclusion of natural enemies. In 2005, plants within open cages had fewer soybean aphids than those within cages that excluded natural enemies, and aphid

  4. Effects of chemical elements in the trophic levels of natural salt marshes.

    PubMed

    Kamiński, Piotr; Barczak, Tadeusz; Bennewicz, Janina; Jerzak, Leszek; Bogdzińska, Maria; Aleksandrowicz, Oleg; Koim-Puchowska, Beata; Szady-Grad, Małgorzata; Klawe, Jacek J; Woźniak, Alina

    2016-06-01

    The relationships between the bioaccumulation of Na, K, Ca, Mg, Fe, Zn, Cu, Mn, Co, Cd, and Pb, acidity (pH), salinity (Ec), and organic matter content within trophic levels (water-soil-plants-invertebrates) were studied in saline environments in Poland. Environments included sodium manufactures, wastes utilization areas, dumping grounds, and agriculture cultivation, where disturbed Ca, Mg, and Fe exist and the impact of Cd and Pb is high. We found Zn, Cu, Mn, Co, and Cd accumulation in the leaves of plants and in invertebrates. Our aim was to determine the selectivity exhibited by soil for nutrients and heavy metals and to estimate whether it is important in elucidating how these metals are available for plant/animal uptake in addition to their mobility and stability within soils. We examined four ecological plant groups: trees, shrubs, minor green plants, and water macrophytes. Among invertebrates, we sampled breastplates Malacostraca, small arachnids Arachnida, diplopods Diplopoda, small insects Insecta, and snails Gastropoda. A higher level of chemical elements was found in saline polluted areas (sodium manufactures and anthropogenic sites). Soil acidity and salinity determined the bioaccumulation of free radicals in the trophic levels measured. A pH decrease caused Zn and Cd to increase in sodium manufactures and an increase in Ca, Zn, Cu, Cd, and Pb in the anthropogenic sites. pH increase also caused Na, Mg, and Fe to increase in sodium manufactures and an increase in Na, Fe, Mn, and Co in the anthropogenic sites. There was a significant correlation between these chemical elements and Ec in soils. We found significant relationships between pH and Ec, which were positive in saline areas of sodium manufactures and negative in the anthropogenic and control sites. These dependencies testify that the measurement of the selectivity of cations and their fluctuation in soils provide essential information on the affinity and binding strength in these environments. The

  5. Refuges, flower strips, biodiversity and agronomic interest.

    PubMed

    Roy, Grégory; Wateau, Karine; Legrand, Mickaël; Oste, Sandrine

    2008-01-01

    Several arthropods are natural predators of pests, and they are able to reduce and control their population development. FREDON Nord Pas-de-Calais (Federation Regionate de Defense contre les Organismes Nuisibles = Regional Federation for Pest Control) has begun for a long time to form farmers to the recognition of beneficial arthropods and to show them their usefulness. These beneficial insects or arachnids are present everywhere, in orchards and even in fields which are areas relatively poor in biodiversity. Adults feed in the flower strips instead larvae and some adults feed on preys such as aphids or caterpillars. Most of the time, beneficial insects can regulate pest but sometimes, in agricultural area, they can't make it early enough and efficiently. Their action begin too late and there biodiversity and number are too low. It's possible to enhance their action by manipulating the ecological infrastructures, like sewing flower strips or installing refuges. Flower strips increase the density of natural enemies and make them be present earlier in the field in order to control pests. Refuges permit beneficial's to spend winter on the spot. So they're able to be active and to grow in number earlier. From 2004 to 2007, on the one hand, FREDON Nord Pas-de-Calais has developed a research program. Its purpose was to inventory practices and also tools and means available and to judge the advisability of using such or such beneficial refuge in orchards. On the second hand, it studied the impact in orchard of refuges on population of beneficial's and the difference there were between manufactured refuges and homemade refuges. Interesting prospects were obtained with some of them. Otherwise, since 2003, FREDON has studied flower strips influence on beneficial population and their impact on pest control. In cabbage fields, results of trials have shown that flower strips lead to a reduction of aphid number under acceptable economic level, up to 50 meters from flower strips

  6. Volcano ecology at Chaiten, Chile: geophysical processes interact with forest ecosystems

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Swanson, F. J.; Crisafulli, C.; Jones, J. A.; Lara, A.

    2010-12-01

    The May 2008 eruption of Chaiten Volcano (Chile) offers many insights into volcano ecology -ecological responses to volcanic and associated hydrologic processes and ecosystem development in post-eruption landscapes. Varied intensities of pyroclastic density currents (PDC) and thickness of tephra fall deposits (to 50+ cm) created strong gradients of disturbance in several hundred square kilometers of native forest in a sector north to southeast from the volcano. A gradient from tree removal to toppled forest to standing, scorched forest extends 1.5 km northward from the caldera rim along the trajectory of a PDC. Close to the vent (e.g., 2 km NE from rim) a rain of ca. 10 cm of gravel tephra stripped foliage and twigs from tree canopies; farther away (23 km SE) 10 cm of fine tephra loaded the canopy, causing extensive fall of limbs >8 cm diameter. Even in the severely disturbed, north-flank PDC zone, surviving bamboo, ferns, and other herbs sprouted from pre-eruption soil and other refugia; sprouts of new foliage appeared on the boles and major limbs of several species of toppled and scorched, standing trees; animals including vertebrates (rodents and amphibians) and terrestrial invertebrates (e.g., insects and arachnids) either survived or quickly recolonized; and a diverse fungal community began decomposing the vast dead wood resource. During the second growing season we documented the presence of some plant species that had colonized by seed. Within two years after the eruption secondary ecological disturbances resulting from channel change and overbank deposition of fluvially transported tephra created new patches of damaged forest in riparian zones of streams draining the north flank and along the Rio Rayas and Rio Chaiten. These features parallel observations in the intensively-studied, post-1980-eruption landscape of Mount St. Helens over a similar time period. However, several aspects of ecological response to the two eruptions differ because of differences

  7. Unraveling Molecular Mechanisms for the Unusual Fossil Preservation and Biomineralization Pathways in Tlayúa, the Mexican Solenhofen

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Cervini-Silva, J.; Fakra, S.; Alvarado-Ortega, J.; Cornejo-Garrido, H.; Marcus, M.; Hao, Z.; Espinosa-Arruberena, L.; Banfield, J.

    2007-12-01

    The Tlayúa slurry constitutes the most important paleontological locality in the American continent, and constitutes the second most important locality in its genre worldwide. The importance of Tlayúa strives in the fact that a great diversity of marine and terrestrial fossils in perfect state of preservation have been found, with ages surpassing 115 million yrs. Paleomagnetic determinations and biostratigraphic determinations conducted in amonites and belemnites indicate that the formation of the Tlayúa slurry dates back to the late Albian. On the other hand, fish, reptiles, invertebrates, and vegetables fossil specimens have been found to date back to the Mesozoic Era. Because of this fact is unprecedented worldwide, Tlayúa is nowadays considered patrimony for the humanity. One of the most accepted hypothesis for explaining Tlayúa's formation relies on the deposition of sediments and fauna on a shallow platform of a tropical sea. A similar geographic place is located in Solenhofen, Germany, where slurries have been exploited for more than 200 yrs with a production of approximately 500 species. Remarkably, in the Tepexi del Rio region for the past 20 yrs more than 5,000 fossil specimens representing more than 200 species have been collected alone. An exceptional specimen preservation found in Tlayúa has been attributed to restricted circulation of water resulting in an anaerobic and/or hypersaline environment, coupled with the general absence of infaunal species. There were periods when the deposition site supported a rich planktontic community. Large quantities of calcareous ooze were produced, resulting in rapid burial of the organisms. The presence of diagnostic terrestrial and freshwater organisms, including arachnids, insects, lizards, and chelonians, along with typical marine fauna, suggests that Tlayúa lagoon had periodic freshwater inflow, in addition to the strong marine, lagoonal, and reefal influence. Some organisms were transported into the

  8. Cosmic Spider is Good Mother

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    2006-04-01

    Hanging above the Large Magellanic Cloud (LMC) - one of our closest galaxies - in what some describe as a frightening sight, the Tarantula nebula is worth looking at in detail. Also designated 30 Doradus or NGC 2070, the nebula owes its name to the arrangement of its brightest patches of nebulosity that somewhat resemble the legs of a spider. This name, of the biggest spiders on Earth, is also very fitting in view of the gigantic proportions of the celestial nebula - it measures nearly 1,000 light years across! ESO PR Photo 11/06 ESO PR Photo 13b/06 Tarantula's Central Cluster, R136 The Tarantula nebula is the largest emission nebula in the sky and also one of the largest known star-forming regions in all the Milky Way's neighbouring galaxies. Located about 170,000 light-years away, in the southern constellation Dorado (The Swordfish), it can be seen with the unaided eye. As shown in this image obtained with the FORS1 multi-mode instrument on ESO's Very Large Telescope, its structure is fascinatingly complex, with a large number of bright arcs and apparently dark areas in between. Inside the giant emission nebula lies a cluster of young, massive and hot stars, denoted R 136, whose intense radiation and strong winds make the nebula glow, shaping it into the form of a giant arachnid. The cluster is about 2 to 3 million years old, that is, almost from 'yesterday' in the 13.7 billion year history of the Universe. Several of the brighter members in the immediate surroundings of the dense cluster are among the most massive stars known, with masses well above 50 times the mass of our Sun. The cluster itself contains more than 200 massive stars. ESO PR Photo 11/06 ESO PR Photo 13c/06 The Stellar Cluster Hodge 301 In the upper right of the image, another cluster of bright, massive stars is seen. Known to astronomers as Hodge 301, it is about 20 million years old, or about 10 times older than R136. The more massive stars of Hodge 301 have therefore already exploded as

  9. Portrait of a Dramatic Stellar Crib

    NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    2006-12-01

    the Wide Field Imager on the 2.2-m MPG/ESO telescope located at La Silla, Chile, while studying the dark clouds in the region. Dark clouds are enormous clouds of gas and dust, with a mass surpassing a million times that of the Sun. They are very cold, with temperatures about -260 degrees Celsius, and are difficult to study because of the heavy walls of dust behind which they hide. Their study is however essential, as it is in their freezing wombs that stars are born. ESO PR Photo 50b/06 ESO PR Photo 50b/06 SN 1987A and the Honeycomb Nebula (WFI/2.2m) Observing in four different bands, the astronomers made a mosaic of the half-degree field of view of the instrument to obtain an image covering one square degree. With each individual image containing 64 million pixels, the resultant mosaic thus contained 4 times as many, or 256 million pixels! The observations were made in very good image quality, the 'seeing' being typically below 1 arcsecond. The image is based on data collected through four filters, including two narrow-band filters that trace hydrogen (red) and oxygen (green). The predominance of green in the Tarantula is a result of the younger, hotter stars in this region of the complex. It would be easy to get lost in the meanderings of the filamentary structures or get stuck in the web of the giant arachnid, as is easily experienced with the zoom-in feature provided on the associated photo page, and it is therefore difficult to mention all the unique objects to be discovered. Deserving closer attention perhaps is the area at the right-hand border of the Tarantula. It contains the remains of a star that exploded and was seen with the unaided eye in February 1987, i.e. almost 20 years ago. Supernova SN 1987A, as it is known, is the brightest supernova since the one observed by the German astronomer Kepler in 1604. The supernova is known to be surrounded by a ring, which can be distinguished in the image. A little to the left of SN 1987A, another distinctive feature